Grinding your teeth at night is not uncommon, but when it becomes frequent or severe is can cause painful tension and a gradual wearing away of tooth enamel. This is called Bruxism and is generally not a concern until it begins to happen frequently and damage your teeth.
This teeth grinding happens at times of high stress or anxiety, but can also be due to a misaligned jaw, crooked teeth, or sleep disorders. It can also be difficult to determine if one is grinding their teeth in their sleep, and it may be happening without you ever realizing it. Waking up with a sore or clenched jaw, a dull headache or sensitive teeth can all be signs that you spent time grinding your teeth in your sleep.
If you find this happening, we can help you at Gage Dental Care in East Los Angeles to determine the best solution or to take preventative measures for this nightly tooth grinding. Your dentist will be able to examine your mouth and identify any signs of bruxism. This can include a tense jaw, mandibular tenderness, or teeth that are excessively worn away. Letting go on without treatment can lead to oral heal complications that may be more difficult to correct later on.
Some of the complications can include a fracturing, breaking, loosening or entirely losing teeth. This can lead to an expensive treatment to correct breaks, chips, fracturing, or replacing lost teeth. It can also make pain from TMJ worse and change the appearance of your face due to severe tension.
In order to treat teeth grinding, your doctor will first prescribe you a mouth guard fitting to protect your teeth from being worn down or breaking at night. Next, you can work on reducing your stress if this is one of the contributing factors to why you are grinding your teeth. Make plans to start a new routine that promotes relaxation through counseling, supportive friendships, exercise, time out in nature, a vacation, massages, physical therapy or utilizing muscle relaxing medication.
Simple habits such as your sleeping posture can also be examined and steps are taken to reduce tension on the neck, head, and shoulders. Sleeping on your stomach can create twists in your jaw alignment and contribute to TMJ and grinding. Making sure to integrate sleep support, a comfortable mattress, and a relaxation routine can promote a more peaceful sleeping experience.
It can also be beneficial to reduce or cut out caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and chewing gum. You can also use mindfulness to pay attention to how you are holding your jaw throughout your day and train yourself to let go of tension. Do this by intentionally relaxing your tongue, mouth, and jaw.
It may take ongoing efforts to significantly eliminate bruxism from occurring, plus the time to gradually change some lifestyle habits and develop new supportive strategies. Meanwhile, be sure to contact your dentist at Gage Dental Care in East Los Angeles to schedule your consultation and receive the dental care to prevent any further damage being caused by bruxism.