Every once in a while, it’s common for people to clench or grind their teeth and there is usually no problem from doing that, however if its constant then you may have a problem. This condition is also known as bruxism. Constant grinding and clenching can cause severe problems with tooth corrosion and can wear the tooth right down to the bare bones. Other health complications like poor chewing and pain can result from bruxism as well.
Some people grind their teeth throughout the day, but most people do it at night while they are sleeping. The best sign that you are grinding your teeth is if you have a dull headache or jaw pain each morning when you wake up. If you sleep near a loved-one, often-times they can tell you if you are grinding your teeth as it will keep them awake at night! If you suspect signs of bruxism wrecking havoc on your teeth talk to your dentist.
In extreme cases of bruxism, the result can be chipped, fractured, damaged, or loosened teeth. This can cause teeth to have to be removed, and in some extreme cases requires bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, or partial/complete dentures to be needed once the original teeth are ruined. Nerve damage can also occur.
Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to wear at night when teeth grinding is the most common. If your grinding is determined to be caused by stress, then it is possible to ask your dentist or doctor to offer tips on how to help manage your stress. Some options that are offered can include attending stress therapy classes, beginning an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist, or possibly taking muscle relaxants are some options that may be able to help the stress levels in your body go down. Also, getting sleep studies done to ensure you do not have a sleeping problem may also be a worthwhile investment. If a sleep disorders is behind the grinding, then that can be remedied at that time.
Other tips to quit grinding your teeth can include limiting drinks containing a lot of caffeine such as colas or coffees, avoiding alcohol, avoiding chewing on pens/pencils or anything that is not food, when you find yourself grinding your teeth place the tip of your tongue between your teeth to help you stop, or relax your jaws by holding a warm washing cloth up to your jaw each night to help your jaw line relax.
Bruxism can occur among children as well. Approximately 15% to 33% of children experience bruxism at some point in their childhoods. The two peak times for bruxism are when children’s baby teeth are growing in and when the permanent adult teeth are coming in. Most children will quit this habit after their teeth are fully grown in. Reasons children might grind their teeth include improperly aligned teeth, irregular contact between upper/lower teeth, and/or other medical conditions. Grinding baby teeth is rarely a problem, however when it’s the adult teeth it’s a bigger problem. That is the last set of teeth children get that have to last a lifetime. Besides wearing down teeth it can cause jaw pain, headaches, and severe wear on teeth. If you suspect your child has this condition, then take them to their dentist for evaluation.
If you have questions regarding this article contact us or call us 909-465-1016.
The Ramona Dentistry Team
“Where Family Comes First”