Do You Grind Your Teeth?
You wake up in the morning with a dull headache, as usual. Or maybe you notice your jaw is often on the sore side, especially in the morning. These are both signs of what dentists call Bruxism. Put simply, Bruxism is when you clench or grind your teeth. You may not even realize you have it.
A number of kids and adults experience this. In fact, according to Colgate.com, around 30 to 40 million people are affected in the U.S. Do you grind your teeth? Here are some common symptoms that will help you to determine if you have Bruxism.
-Rythmic contractions of the jaw muscles
-A grinding sound at night
-Tight or sore jaw muscles
-Long term face pain
-Occasional swelling of the lower jaw due to clenching
-Morning headaches, toothaches, or earaches
Why am I Grinding?
There are various reasons you are grinding your teeth. The most common reason is stress! Maybe your work is driving you nuts. On the other hand, you may have happy stress, such as knowing you are going to have a baby or you are getting married. Other triggers for Bruxism are crooked teeth, an abnormal bite, missing teeth, or difficulty sleeping.
Unfortunately, if you grind your teeth or clench, you are more likely to experience more than just short term discomfort. The constant back and forth pressure between your teeth can wear away precious enamel and expose dentin. As a result, your teeth can become increasingly sensitive to temperature and pressure. You can also loose dental restorations like fillings and even loosen teeth. Additionally, you can cause problems with your temporomandibular joints.
You may not have known you grind your teeth. This is one reason why regular check-ups at the dentist are so important. Your doctor will be able to visually see evidence that your teeth have been grinding. If you already know you are grinding, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist. Together, you can determine the best treatment plan for you.
Your dentist may recommend a night guard to wear when you sleep. This is a custom made appliance that fits over your teeth to prevent contact. If your bite is abnormal, he or she may reduce the high spots on your teeth in order to even out your bite. Inlays or crowns may be a good choice if your teeth need to be reshaped or restored.