Are you guilty of unconsciously clenching your jaws? Are there times when you wake up with a dull ache along your jaw or headaches that seem to originate from your jaw? If you do, chances are that you’re suffering from bruxism or teeth grinding as it’s more commonly known.
Teeth grinding often happens unconsciously or while you’re sleeping, and anyone of any age group can find themselves with this problem.
For some people, it’s a temporary thing that happens and then stops after a while. For people in this category, it is usually triggered by stress, pain, concentration, or situational triggers. As a result, the teeth grinding tends to stop after the situation is resolved.
Why People Grind Their Teeth
Apart from situational triggers and stress factors, there are a number of health conditions that can cause or exacerbate bruxism. For example, there is a strong correlation between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and teeth grinding, though the exact nature of that link is not fully understood.
People who also take antidepressants and antipsychotic medications containing selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) also tend to grind their teeth. Lifestyle habits such as drinking and smoking can also worsen or trigger teeth grinding in people.
Likewise, the condition of your teeth and mouth can have a lot to do with teeth grinding — people with overbites, underbites, and other alignment issues can be hard-pressed not to end up grinding their teeth for these reasons alone.
Damages Bruxism Can Cause to the Teeth
Over time, the grinding can fracture or wear teeth down, causing damage to the teeth themselves as well as the alignment of the jaw. It can even trigger temporomandibular joint disorders, commonly known as TMJ/TMD, due to the incredible pressures associated with chronic bruxism.
How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth
Seeing as certain lifestyle habits and actions can trigger bruxism, you need to do something about those lifestyle changes. Caffeine, for instance, tends to elevate your heart rate, resulting in possible anxiety and unnecessary high stress levels.
This, as you know, can result in irritability that the individual might try to control by clenching their jaws or grinding their teeth. You should consider cutting out foods with caffeine and alcohol.
Medical and Dental Options
Your dentist can provide you with a mouthguard or mouth splint to prevent teeth grinding when you’re asleep. This is about the most practical medical treatment option there is right now.
For people with malocclusions, the best way to completely eliminate this is to have their misaligned teeth and jaws corrected surgically. However, you should talk to your dentist about this first before making the decision as mild cases of overbites or underbites can be properly managed without the need for surgery.
If chronic bruxism has already damaged your chewing real-estate, there are also options like dental implants you can pursue to restore your smile and bite. Specialists like Dr. Trevasani at Lifetime Teeth Today can tell you more about restorative options for damaged teeth.