While not everyone’s teeth grinding is severe enough to require medical attention, the fact is that many people do grind their teeth occasionally, often without even realizing it. The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism, and Jamestowne South Dental Cracchiolo sees patients all the time who deal with this problem. Severe bruxism, if left untreated, can create some tough challenges for people, so we’d like to explain a little about why this happens and what Jamestowne South Dental and his team can do to help.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
There are a few things that are typically the main causes of teeth grinding, and while some of them can cause bruxism during the waking hours, we have found that it’s most common when a person is sleeping. Here are the leading culprits:
- An abnormal bite
- Missing/crooked teeth
- Sleep apnea
Since much of this happens while patients are sleeping, it can be hard to know whether it’s even a problem you’re facing. Thankfully, there are two telltale signs that you’re grinding your teeth at night: excessive wear on your teeth and a sore or tender jaw that shows up when you awaken each morning.
How Does Jamestowne South Dental Correct Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism can be a serious problem in patients, as it can lead to fractured, loosened, and even lost teeth. Nobody wants to die with dental problems like those, so it’s typically best to reach out for preventative dental care in Bingham Farms before the issue grows too severe.
The following are some preventative/corrective measures your dentist may take:
- Splints/mouth guards: It may sound overly simplistic, but sleeping with a mouthguard immediately keeps a patient’s top row of teeth from grinding against the bottom row of teeth while sleeping. Typically, mouthguards are made of hard acrylic or some other soft material and can fit over a patient’s upper or lower teeth. They are a comfortable, completely non-invasive, and affordable solution to bruxism.
- Dental correction: In cases where the problem is being caused by missing or misaligned teeth, Jamestowne South Dental may start with some digital radiography and then suggest an orthodontic treatment like Invisalign to straighten out your smile. Or, he may want to install false teeth to fill in gaps caused by missing teeth. Dental implants or bridges, for example, can be a solution.
- Medication: For some people, medication may be an appropriate course of treatment. Muscle relaxants can help but are typically only prescribed over short-term periods. If the cause of bruxism seems to be anxiety or stress, perhaps an anxiety medication may help resolve not only the bruxism but all the other issues caused by long stretches of heightened stress.
The good news is that not everyone needs these treatments. Children, for example, often grow out of bruxism on their own. Still, if you’ve got concerns about teeth grinding, it’s best to consult with your dentist to get a sense of possible treatments that could help. Bruxism may seem like small potatoes compared to “more serious” issues but left untreated, teeth grinding can lead to some of those major dental problems. If you’re experiencing teeth grinding (or have a suspicion that you’re experiencing it at night without knowing for sure), give Jamestowne South Dental a call so we can help to correct the issue before it grows too severe.