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Teeth Grinding & Bruxism

Bruxism & Teeth Grinding

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, varies in severity. Occasional grinding typically poses no harm, but chronic grinding can result in significant dental and oral health issues. Bruxism encompasses forceful tooth contact, whether it’s noisy and abrasive or silent clenching. It can occur during sleep or waking hours, often unnoticed. Both adults and children can experience it, and factors like alcohol, drugs, and certain sleep disorders can exacerbate it. In children, teething, earaches, or infections often trigger bruxism.

Common Questions & Tips About Bruxism

Why Do I Grind My Teeth?

The cause of bruxism is still unknown. However, it is believed that increased stress and anxiety can greatly increase how often and how severely you grind your teeth. Having an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth are also thought to contribute to teeth grinding.

Why Is Bruxism Bad?

Occasional bruxism usually does not result in damage to the teeth or jaw. However, chronic teeth grinding can cause serious dental issues. In some cases, grinding can result in tooth fracture, loosening of teeth, or the loss of a tooth or teeth. Grinding over years without treatment can wear the teeth down to stumps, which will require bridges, crowns, root canals, dental implants, or possibly even dentures to repair.

Not only is bruxism bad for your teeth, it is also damaging to the jaw. Grinding can result in hearing loss, change the appearance of your face, and TMJ.

What Can I Do To Stop Grinding My Teeth?

Being fitted for a mouth guard/night guard will help protect your teeth from the effects of grinding while you sleep. However, in order to cease grinding completely it’s important to treat the triggers for why you grind your teeth.

If stress is causing your bruxism, ask your doctor or dentist about stress reduction techniques and options. Exercise, stress counseling, or prescription muscle relaxers may help reduce how often or severely you grind your teeth.

Other Tips To Help Reduce Bruxism Include:

  • Cut back or eliminate foods that contain caffeine from your diet. This includes coffee, soda, tea, and chocolate.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol tends to increase the severity and frequency of bruxism.
  • Don’t chew on anything that is not food. This includes gum, pencils, or pens. Constantly chewing conditions your jaw muscles to stay clenched and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Pay attention to your mouth. If you notice that you grind or clench your teeth during the day, train yourself to relax. Position the tip of your tongue between your front teeth to make it harder to clench or grind your teeth.
  • Relax your jaw before bed. Using a warm washcloth on the face at night will help relax the jaw prior to sleep. Position it on your cheek in front of your earlobe to get maximum results.

If This Is A Medical Emergency, Please Dial 911

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Dental Services

For patients who need general dentistry services for restoration and to repair damage, we can discuss cosmetic procedures like teeth straightening and whitening in addition to tooth extractions and root canals. Ask us about full and partial dentures and enjoy eating and speaking again with confidence. For those who suffer from dental sleep disorders like teeth grinding and snoring we can provide treatment to assist in a good night’s sleep.

While at-home, oral hygiene like brushing twice daily, flossing and using mouthwash is extremely helpful in deterring dental ailments like decay and bad breath. However, preventative dentistry is a key component in having a healthy mouth and body. Our doctors can provide additional assistance in preventing tooth loss, infection and inflammation, and other long-term conditions. Preventative treatments can ward off serious problems later on as well as help reinforce the practice of healthy habits.

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How Can I Stop Grinding My Teeth?

Northwood Dental offers effective treatments and solutions to help patients prevent teeth grinding (bruxism) and its associated complications.

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