Clenching and grinding your teeth is a common way to express anger or frustration. But for many people, that seemingly innocent gesture is a habit that has caused devastating damage to their teeth and jaw. Regular teeth grinding can cause oral health complications that require the help of a dentist to fix.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, between 5 percent and 12 percent of people suffer from facial pain, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which can be caused by teeth grinding.
Teeth grinding often occurs while the patient is sleeping. It’s also more likely to happen in patients with an abnormal bite, missing teeth, or crooked teeth. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can also contribute to teeth grinding.
The Stress & Teeth Grinding Connection
Several factors can contribute to teeth grinding, including stress and anxiety. In fact, researchers have named stress as the most significant factor in predicting how often teeth grinding will occur and to what degree.
Additionally, research published in “Novel Trends in Brain Science” found that teeth grinding and similar behaviors helped manage the levels of stress hormones and responses to that stress in our bodies.
Think of teeth grinding as a way for some individuals to manage stress in the same way that you may find screaming helps you cope with fear.
Because there’s such a strong connection between stress and teeth grinding, it’s important to seek solutions for stress management as well as your nightly grinding habit. By better managing your stress, you may find that your teeth grinding symptoms improve on their own.
How Do I Know If I Grind My Teeth?
A lot of people may be completely unaware that they grind their teeth since it often happens while they sleep. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms we encourage you to set up a consultation with our experienced staff members at our San Antonio, TX dentist office so we can help you find relief.
Symptoms of teeth grinding include:
- Loud noises caused by the grinding of teeth
Often the grinding will create an audible noise that your partner or other family members may hear.
- Worn down, fractured, or chipped teeth
Regularly grinding your teeth can wear down your teeth, even flattening them, or crack your tooth enamel.
- Teeth sensitivity
You may experience sensitivity in your teeth and gums when eating or drinking anything hot or cold. Unusual sensitivity could be a sign that your enamel has worn down because of teeth grinding.
- Pain, discomfort, or tightness in your jaw and facial muscles
The tension created by constant grinding can affect your facial muscles and jaw, leaving you uncomfortable.
- Headaches, earaches, and migraines
Another symptom caused by the muscle tension created by teeth grinding.
- Damaged cheek tissue
Grinding your teeth while lying on your side can rub or trap your cheek tissue between your teeth, causing damage to the tissue. You can also cause similar damage to your tongue.
Temporomandibular joint inflammation (or disorder) is a painful condition characterized by inflammation in the joint that holds the lower jaw in place. The surrounding tissue can become inflamed as well, causing pain, discomfort, and swelling.
Solutions For Teeth Grinding
At Advanced Dental Associates, we can fit you for a mouth guard that will protect your teeth while you sleep. A mouthguard will cushion your teeth and prevent the movement causing you pain and discomfort. It won’t take long for you to notice a decrease in the pain you’ve been feeling as a result of teeth grinding. You may even get a better night’s sleep!
Find Relief Today!
If you’re tired of waking up with pain and discomfort from overnight teeth grinding or if you’re concerned about the toll the bad habit is having on your teeth, we can help.
At Advanced Dental Associates, we help patients with concerns like yours every day. You shouldn’t have to suffer any longer. To schedule a consultation and learn more about teeth grinding and the solutions available for you, call our San Antonio, TX office at (210) 819-5233. You can also contact us online.