WHAT DO I DO IF I AM GRINDING MY TEETH?
Many of us occasionally clench or grind our teeth from time to time and it does not usually cause any harm, but those who are grinding their teeth on a regular basis can be doing some great damage and causing other problems to their oral health. Many dental professionals attribute teeth grinding to an abnormal bite or sometimes even missing or crooked teeth. Stress and anxiety can also cause people to grind their teeth, and because it usually occurs during sleep, they may not even be aware of it. If you suspect that you are a teeth grinder, there are some tell tale signs that usually will confirm it for you. A sore jaw or constant headache are usually always signs of grinding teeth. Family members may also hear you grinding your teeth as you sleep. Your dental professional can inspect your teeth if you are concerned that you have these symptoms and can help look for other signs, such as abnormalities in your teeth and jaw tenderness, to confirm that you do indeed grind your teeth while sleeping. If you find that you do have a teeth grinding problem, here are some tips that may help in correcting the problem:
- Dentists recommend being fitted for a mouth guard which will protect your teeth from grinding while you are asleep.
- Try cutting back on any beverages that contain caffeine such as coffee, chocolate and colas.
- Alcohol consumption can intensify grinding, so try to avoid alcohol or cut down on alcohol consumption.
- If you believe that stress is playing a part and causing you to grind your teeth more often, seek out different ways to alleviate stress. Counseling, exercise, and even medication can be used if you believe it would help you reduce your stress level.
- Be aware of when you are clenching or grinding your teeth and try to train yourself to position your jaw or your tongue differently. This will hopefully train your jaw to relax.
- Dental experts have also noted that chewing gum can make you more likely to grind your teeth since it allows your jaw muscles to get used to clenching. Try to avoid chewing gum if you can.
- A warm cloth to your jaw area before bed can help relax the muscles before you go to bed as well.
Chronic teeth grinders run the risk of loosing, fracturing or loosening their teeth. Some grinders have been know to grind their teeth down to stumps. This becomes an expensive problem since one is then forced to consider dental implants, bridges or crowns to replace the damage that has been done inside the mouth.
- Severe grinding can also cause Temporomandibular Disorders (better known as TMJ/TMD). This condition can be very painful and may even require surgical intervention. It can cause the jaw to get stuck or lock in an open or closed position at times.
Your local Phoenix dental professional is your best source for identifying any problems in your teeth due to teeth grinding. An oral examination may be the key in saving future years of pain and dental expenses due to this condition by catching it early on. Use your Phoenix dentist’s professional opinion and advice to correct the problem early and improve your oral health.