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Teeth Aren’t Meant to Grind

To Brux or Not To Brux?

Believe it or not, we didn’t make that word up. That would be Shakespearean, and well…we’re not in the business of crafting words—we’re happy with crafting confident smiles. Bruxism is actually the term used to describe the condition of grinding your teeth, and it turns out it’s not really a choice at all.

Most teeth grinding takes place during sleep. If this only happens once in a while, there’s not a lot to worry about, but if you’re a chronic tooth grinder, it can lead to big problems: damaged teeth, TMJ or other jaw conditions, headaches, and more. The tricky thing about being a teeth-grinder is that it’s pretty hard to catch yourself in the act. There are, however, symptoms to watch for that might indicate you have a problem with grinding your teeth at night.

Grinding one's teeth is also called bruxism. Stress and anxiety can make it worse.

Grinding one’s teeth is also called bruxism. Stress and anxiety can make it worse.

A dental examination can help determine if you are suffering from bruxism. If you notice that your teeth look worn down or chipped, or that your jaw is tired when you wake up in the morning, this could indicate a problem. Other symptoms include headaches, earaches, or facial pain. Sometimes teeth grinding can also cause your tooth enamel to wear down and expose deeper layers of your tooth, which will also increase sensitivity.

There’s a lot of debate about what causes this condition, but there are plenty of things that are on the suspect list. Not surprisingly, stress and anxiety top the list as number one suspects. A lot of Americans suffer from stress, which leads to tension everywhere in the body, and the jaw can be one of the many places afflicted by stress tension. Some types of antidepressants can have side effects that cause bruxism. Problems with sleep can be an issue as well—teeth grinding can be related to disrupted sleep cycles. There are also physical problems that play a part—alignment issues, such as malocclusion, or missing and/or crooked teeth.

If you think you might be grinding your teeth, it’s important to see a dentist. There are steps we can take to stop the problem before it causes too much damage. The jaw is a powerful tool and when clenched it can apply up to 250 pounds of pressure. Think of the things you can crack with that amount of pressure!

At West Meade Dental, we’re able to offer not only a variety of services, but many options for paying for your service, as well. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Keeping up with dental examinations and hygiene can determine a lot of risk factors before they become a real problem.

By Shelley Sigur | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Grinding Your Teeth? Here’s What You Need To Know

Dangers and Cures of Grinding Your Teeth

It is not abnormal for people to grind their teeth from time to time. The condition in which this occurs is called bruxism and, if it only occurs in moderation, it is not terribly dangerous. However, if someone chronically grinds his or her teeth, it can lead to serious damage to their teeth as well as other areas of the mouth. The good news is that there are ways to remedy this situation before it becomes too serious.

In some cases, bruxism is caused by any number of external stressors that a person is experiencing in their life. However, a physical issue with the teeth or mouth often causes it. For example, grinding of the teeth may result from missing teeth, crooked teeth or even an abnormal bite. Although it can occur at any time, many people do not even realize that they are grinding their teeth because it only occurs at night.

Are You Grinding Your Teeth at Night - Nashville TN - West Meade Dental

Are You Grinding Your Teeth at Night – Nashville TN – West Meade Dental

The simplest results of teeth grinding are headaches and pain in the jaw. However, there can be far more serious affects of bruxism. Over time, the condition can result in someone breaking, loosening or even losing some of his or her teeth. In the worst cases, the teeth grind down completely. In addition to damaging the teeth, bruxism can damage the jaw and even result in hearing loss of facial deformities.

The majority of teeth grinding takes place at night and there are specific remedies for that type of situation. Many people find relief after they are fitted with a mouth guard from their dentist.  Someone who grinds his or her teeth at night should also be sure to avoid caffeine or alcohol, especially before bedtime. To break the habit of grinding, it is important to resist the urge to chew on anything other than food, such as pen caps or fingernails. It can also be helpful to sleep with a warm washcloth next to the face, which will help relax the jaw.

These remedies alone may not work if the bruxism is the result of external stress. In this case, it may be necessary to see a therapist who can prescribe ways to deal with stress. This may include therapy or even muscle relaxers, which will decrease the urge to grind the teeth while sleeping. Many people often find that a change in diet or exercise routine can help reduce the effects of stress in their lives.

Parents will often notice that their babies may be grinding their teeth and will become concerned about long-term damage. It is common for babies to grind their teeth, especially when they are first teething. In most cases, this will stop once the child has finished growing in all of their adult teeth. It usually does not cause any damage, although the child may experience headaches and jaw pain. If the parent notices that their child’s teeth are becoming worn or broken, they should take them to a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, it is not cause for concern.

Grinding of the teeth is a difficult problem to identify because it often takes place while the person is sleeping. A patient who commonly wakes up with jaw pain or headaches may be suffering from bruxism. A visit to the dentist will help determine whether it is caused by stress or by a physical problem with the teeth or jaw. Allowing this problem to go untreated can result in significant damage to the teeth and jaw, so it is necessary to visit a dentist at the first sign of a problem with grinding the teeth.

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