Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is an involuntary habit that causes destructive effects in the mouth and other facial structures, and it is a condition that affects individuals at any age. People are often made aware of the fact that they are grinding their teeth in different ways. Whether it’s by being told by your partner, by catching yourself mid-clench while stuck in traffic or your dentist notices signs of damage at your bi-annual checkup.
Certain lifestyle factors can increase your chances of developing bruxism, and the first step towards managing the habit is to determine the cause.
Stress and Anxiety Over Your Job
The most common cause of teeth grinding is stress and anxiety. A person who is always stressed in their career or at home likely manifests their stress while sleeping. The over-activity of the muscles in your jaw cause you to unintentionally clench and grind your teeth together without you even realizing you’re doing it.
When a person loses a tooth or is missing teeth, and uneven alignment can change how the teeth align when biting down. An uneven bite destabilizes the jaw’s occlusion, bringing considerable stress that causes one to grind their teeth.
Side Effects of Certain Medications
Teeth grinding is a known side effect of medications that patients take for psychotropic drugs, including antidepressants and anti-psychotics. Teeth grinding can also be one of the many side effects of a digestive issue.
Suffering From Untreated Sleep Apnea
Sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea, are often associated and related to teeth grinding in patients. Studies have shown that those who suffer from various types of sleep disorders are at a higher risk of grinding their teeth.
Long-Term Side Effects of Bruxism
Long-term effects of grinding your teeth come when the short-term effects are not given remedies. People with severe bruxism often suffer from:
Popping or clicking of the jaw
Facial muscles that are taut and tight around the jaw area
A Night Guard Can Help To Prevent Future Dental Issues
Also known as tension headaches, this type of pain can be caused by teeth clenching or grinding. If you frequently wake with a headache, it’s wise to consider bruxism as a cause.
Temporomandibular joint disorder affects the muscles used to chew and the joints that connect your jaw and skull. While many factors can trigger TMJ disorder, one of the leading causes is bruxism.
Tooth sensitivity and discomfort isn’t just linked to cavities. Bruxism can cause tooth sensitivity that is often related to damage to your tooth enamel.
Cracks and Fractures
A cracked or fractured tooth can result from chewing on hard foods, as your teeth age naturally, and also from grinding your teeth at night. While the teeth are designed for the pressure of eating and biting, they’re not equipped to sustain additional pressure from long-term clenching or grinding.
Saving Money and Your Smile
Tooth damage caused by the unconscious nightly grinding and clenching of your teeth and jaw tends to be quite costly. One of the most significant issues from teeth clenching is that it slowly but surely destroys your teeth. When this happens, the restorative dental treatments required for aesthetic and functional purposes are expensive.
Being fit for a personalized night guard is an uncomplicated process that is typically done in two visits. During your first appointment, a mold of your teeth will be taken to create the night guard, and your second appointment is to test the fit and take home your new device.
If you think your smile is suffering from bruxism, contact Hinsdale Dentistry today to see if a custom night guard is the best solution for you.