What is Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding, or the medical term Bruxism, is the act of grinding or clenching your teeth. Teeth grinding wears down tooth enamel over time which in turn makes it teeth more sensitive to the cold, food, drinks, and brushing your teeth. Teeth grinding most commonly takes place while a person is asleep and often times the person is unaware that the are doing it.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
The most common cause of teeth grinding is stress or anxiety. A person is more likely to grind their teeth at night if they experience regular anxiety during the day. Even one off stressful days can lead to teeth grinding the following night.
Teeth grinding is often a common side affect of sleep apnea or irregular breathing while sleeping. Depending on the severity of a patients sleep apnea, it is often recommended to wear a night guard to counteract some of the affects of irregular breathing and teeth grinding. However, wearing a night guard is not advisable unless directed by a physician because it could make your condition worse. It is recommended for patients to go through a proper sleep study to allow a physician to accurately diagnose your condition. Please consult your dentist to determine if wearing a night guard is the proper course of action for you.
Teeth Grinding Signs and Symptoms
These are some common signs and symptoms of teeth grinding:
- An audible grinding sound at nighttime
- Waking up with a headache
- Worn down, flattened or chipped teeth
- Tight jaw muscles or pain in the jaw
- Restorative crowns or fillings breaking down earlier than anticipated
Preventing Damage from Teeth Grinding
Getting a professionally made custom night guard is the best way to prevent damage from teeth grinding. Mouth guards will prevent grinding damage at night, ensure your tooth enamel remains healthy for longer, and reduce headache pain when waking up. If you or a family member is known to grind their teeth or clench their jaw, please consult with a King of Prussia Dental™ dentist to see if a night guard is right for you.