Teeth grinding, sometimes referred to as “bruxism”, is a condition in which an individual clenches their jaw and rubs their teeth against one another. Extreme teeth grinding can eventually damage your teeth if proper preventative measures aren’t taken by you and your dentist. Here are some typical questions that patients may have regarding the causes and treatments for bruxism.
How Will I Know?
Bruxism can occur subconsciously while you sleep, so you may not even be aware that you’re clenching your jaw at night. If you have symptoms such as a sore jaw or trouble sleeping through the night in general, it’s possible that teeth grinding is to blame. Your enamel might also feel sensitive or tender while eating and drinking. Some individuals might even notice visible signs of damage to the teeth such as chipping and breakage.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
Patients who are under high-stress are usually more at risk for bruxism. Stressful feelings or situations might lead you to grip your jaw and have trouble relaxing it. If you decide that anxiety is the issue, consider trying some relaxation techniques at home such as meditation or reading. You may even decide to seek advice from a professional to help you have healthier, more peaceful days.
Sleep apnea is a more serious cause of teeth grinding. Patients who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing normally for short bursts during the night. Their breathing eventually regains its rhythm, but the moment of breathlessness usually causes their heart rate to go up. Left untreated, this could lead to heart disease or stroke.
While you’re working to get your teeth grinding under control, ask your doctor about mouth guards. He or she will be able to recommend a brand to help protect your teeth from the negative effects of grinding such as tooth decay and sensitivity. Mouth guards fit in your mouth like an invisible aligner and are available at most major retailers. If your bruxism has advanced to the point where your enamel is beginning to break down, talk to your dentist in Oakland about potential restorative treatments such as veneers and crowns. Modern cosmetic dentistry can repair your teeth and restore your smile!