Teeth Grinding & How It May Be Ruining Your Smile
Teeth grinding, also known as “bruxism,” is a common problem that occurs when an individual clenches or grinds his or her teeth. In most cases, grinding and clenching occurs during sleep and is involuntary. This condition can cause uncomfortable symptoms, and it can damage the teeth over time. Fortunately, a top orthodontist can help you control teeth grinding and prevent damage to your smile.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
In most cases, teeth grinding is related to anxiety and stress. However, consuming certain substances, such as alcohol, caffeine, and some prescription medications, can also contribute to teeth grinding. In addition, some people may grind their teeth because of problems with their bite.
How It Affects Your Smile
Over time, grinding your teeth can loosen them, weaken their enamel, and even cause some of them to fracture. Weaker enamel makes teeth more vulnerable to decay and infection, and they can become more sensitive as well. Tooth fracture, on the other hand, may cause immediate symptoms that require prompt treatment from your closest orthodontist. Damage to your teeth often worsens as you continue grinding them.
In addition to damaging the structure and integrity of your teeth, grinding can also lead to uncomfortable symptoms including jaw pain, stiffness, earaches, and headaches that may impact your daily activities.
Teeth Grinding Treatment
Fortunately, effective treatment is available for people who grind their teeth. To stop the grinding from causing damage to the teeth, pain, and other symptoms, your orthodontist can create a customized plastic mouth guard to place over your teeth at night while you sleep. This mouth guard will hold your teeth apart and protect them from damage.
If your teeth grinding is related to your bite or the crookedness of your teeth, your orthodontist can help solve this problem by straightening your teeth and correcting your bite. In some cases, more than one method of treatment may be necessary to correct a problem and prevent future damage.
It’s also possible to cut back on teeth grinding by making some lifestyle changes. Some of the steps you can take to limit damage from teeth grinding include the following:
- Reduce your stress levels with meditation and other relaxation techniques.
- Hold a warm washcloth on your jaws at night to help them relax before you go to sleep.
- Practice relaxing your jaws anytime you feel yourself clenching.
- Cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol.
- Don’t chew gum– this can make teeth grinding at night more likely.
If you have been grinding your teeth for a significant amount of time, you may need other treatments designed to repair the damage to your teeth. Treatments that may help include root canals, crowns, overlays, and other reconstructive treatments. Because the treatment you need may be extensive and complicated, it’s important to find the best orthodontist in the area.
To learn more about treatment for teeth grinding or to find an orthodontist, please call us at Labbe Family Orthodontics today.