Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. Most everyone will have an occasional bout of this, probably without even noticing it, and that is normal. However, if teeth grinding becomes a habit, or an unconscious activity you can’t control, then you could suffer from eventual tooth damage or oral health problems due to the problem. For this reason, it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of teeth grinding and take countermeasures in order to prevent such problems.
Recognizing Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
It is hard to know what is happening to your body during sleep due to the reduced consciousness, and since teeth grinding is most apt to occur during that time, it may be going unnoticed in many people. However, if you’ve been grinding your teeth you may experience symptoms once you’re awake, such as a dull and constant headache, or a sore jaw in the morning. For many people, their partner is often the one who notices teeth grinding by seeing or hearing it, and can bring it to attention.
Visit a Professional
If you have a reason to suspect that you may be grinding, either because your partner has mentioned it or because you’re experiencing the mildly painful side effects, then it is best to be seen by a dentist and give them this information. With their experience in regards to many sets of teeth, dentists can look more closely for things like excessive wear on the teeth or tenderness in the jaw that could be related to teeth grinding. It’s beneficial to catch signs teeth grinding as early as possible in order to avoid having to deal with things like crowns, bridges, or even dentures in the worst scenarios.
How To Protect Teeth and Stop Grinding
Once you realize that you may be grinding your teeth, then it is possible to use some different tools in order to stop damage from occurring. One the most important of these is known as a dental guard, or mouth guard. There are a number of different varieties that can be picked up at places like convenience stores and other shopping centers. A dentist can also help to fit you with one that is unique to the shape of your mouth so that it will provide the most comfort and protection. It is not required to get a professionally fitted mouth guard, but many people find it more effective and comfortable.
Grinding Teeth Due to Stress
Stress has also been found to be a contributing factor in many cases of teeth grinding. In such cases, it is vital to treat the underlying cause rather than the symptoms alone. A doctor can provide treatment and may be able to help prescribe treatment such as muscle relaxants that will work to mitigate the grinding. Sometimes teeth grinding may actually be due to a type of sleep disorder that is causing the problem. In this case, a doctor needs to be seen so that the disorder can be addressed, and then the teeth grinding will likely to stop.
There are so many causes for the grinding your teeth that no particular case is the same as another. The best option is to pay attention to your body so that you notice symptoms if they occur, and visit a medical professional for proper care. If you would like more information about bruxism, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the office of Dr. Larry D. Molenda, D.D.S., located in San Marcos, TX.