Clenching and grinding your teeth is a common involuntary reaction to anger, fear, or stress. In some people, this reaction plays out repeatedly throughout the day, even if they aren’t responding to an immediate stressor.
Teeth grinding (Bruxism) often occurs during sleep. This is called sleep or nocturnal Bruxism. You may also subconsciously grind your teeth or clench your jaw while awake. This is known as awake Bruxism. If you grind your teeth, there are things you can do to stop it. Some remedies may work better than others, depending on the underlying cause of your teeth grinding and symptoms.
Your dentist or doctor can help guide you to your best solution for ending it. What causes Bruxism?
The cause of Bruxism is unique to each patient. However, daytime clenching is usually triggered by stress, anxiety, tension, or even concentration. While, nighttime grinding is sometimes related to hyperactivity, sleep apnea, or acid reflux and can appear as a side effect of certain medications intended to treat depression.
Also, tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, and illicit drugs can increase the risk of teeth-grinding. What are the symptoms?
Teeth grinding can lead to a variety of side effects, including:
- pain in the jaw, face, and ears
- wearing down and flattening teeth
- loose or painful teeth
- cracked, damaged, or fractured teeth
- breakage of fillings and crowns
In extreme cases, problems like chewing, speaking, and swallowing may also occur.
You may not realize you grind your teeth until symptoms appear.
The risk of complications from teeth grinding may increase if you have untreated Bruxism for an extended period. Long-term complications may include:
- chronic ear and headache pain
- facial muscle enlargement
- damage to teeth that requires dental procedures, such as dental bonding, filling, crowns, or bridges
- temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
- Mouth Guards: Mouthguards are a kind of occlusal splint that may be helpful for sleep bruxism. They work by cushioning your teeth and stopping them from grinding against each other while you sleep. Mouthguards can be custom-made at the dentist’s office or purchased over the counter. OTC mouthguards may not be as effective for severe Bruxism as custom-made types, but their low cost may make them an attractive and viable solution for people with little teeth grinding.
- Stress Reduction Techniques: For some people, teeth grinding may be to mental health issues like stress. If you grind your teeth, stress-reduction techniques may help in some cases. Stress reduction can also benefit your overall health, so it’s a low-risk remedy. Some stress reduction techniques to try are meditation, yoga, and talk therapy.
- Tongue and jaw muscle exercises: Tongue and jaw muscle exercises can help you relax the jaw and facial muscles and maintain proper jaw alignment. You can try these at home or work with a physical therapist. Try the following exercises:
- Open your mouth wide while touching your tongue to your front teeth. This helps relax the jaw.
- Say the letter “N” out loud. This will keep your top and bottom teeth from touching and help you avoid clenching.
If you’re facing any symptoms of Bruxism, you need to visit a dentist. They can examine your teeth for wear to determine if you grind them. They can also look at your bite and alignment. Depending on the examination, your dentist will recommend your treatment. You can also try gently massaging your jaw to loosen up the muscles. Schedule your appointment with Dr Shruti Malik at Radix Healthcare. Call us at 1800-120-5457 or visit radixhealthcare.org.