Are Your Teeth Grinding Habits Killing Your Smile?
Teeth grinding, called bruxism, is a common sleep behavior in adults and children. It consists of rubbing or grinding the biting surfaces of upper and lower teeth together and clenching the jaw. Some experts estimate that 33 percent of children regularly grind their teeth, although in children, the habit usually stops when adult teeth come in. You may have a tooth-grinding habit without realizing it. Many people are not aware they are grinding their teeth even when the behavior occurs both day and night. If untreated, bruxism may lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and tooth decay.
Symptoms of Teeth Clenching and Grinding
Typical symptoms of teeth clenching and grinding include jaw pain, worn teeth, headache, insomnia, anxiety, ear pain or full sensation in ears, sensitivity to hot and cold foods, clicking or popping in jaw (TMJ syndrome), and complaints from bed partners of teeth grinding noises.
Causes of Bruxism
Approximately 70 percent of teeth grinding behavior is related to acute anxiety or everyday stress. Whether or not bruxism causes noticeable symptoms depends on a variety of factors such as posture, muscle strength, diet, and the ability to relax. In some cases, the condition may be related to an abnormal bite or malocclusion; this occurs when your top and bottom teeth do not meet correctly. Rarely, teeth grinding may be a side effect of medications like antidepressants and antipsychotics. Since overly vigorous brushing and consumption of acidic foods can also cause excessive wear of tooth enamel, it may be difficult to diagnose the problem through visual evidence alone. An electromyographic study can help identify the muscle movements associated with bruxism.
Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding
Your dentist can give you a custom mouth guard to prevent you from damaging your teeth at night, but the most effective way to treat teeth clenching and grinding problems is to address the underlying stress that is causing it. Managing stress may be as simple as getting enough sleep or exercise. Practicing meditation or guided relaxation is also helpful. In severe cases, medication or cognitive behavioral therapy may be required. If your condition is caused by tooth or jaw misalignment, orthodontic treatment can resolve it. Talk to your dentist in South Bend about teeth grinding treatment options, and stop bruxism from ruining your smile.
To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in South Bend, call The Dental Center of South Bend today at (574) 367-7000 or make an appointment.
The Dental Center offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in South Bend. With 4 affiliated practices throughout Indiana, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At The Dental Center of South Bend, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at The Dental Center of South Bend.