Many people grind their teeth – by some accounts, up to one in three people – and some don’t even realize it. Grinding your teeth at night is an extremely common problem. Also known as bruxism, it occurs for a variety of reasons, including stress and tension. If you suffer from headaches and jaw pain, it may be partially or entirely related to grinding teeth, either while awake or at nighttime.
However, you don’t have to live with these symptoms forever. There are a variety of ways to undo or mitigate the habits of grinding your teeth. In this article, we will run down a few of the basic ways to keep bruxism from becoming too much of a problem in your life.
A course of treatment for bruxism is best conducted in consultation with your dentist. Your dentist can help you figure out whether or not your problem can be fixed with simple behavioral modifications, or whether it will require more in the way of intervention.
Dental hygiene company Colgate has a very helpful article on their website for those struggling with bruxism in their sleep. Citing the Bruxism Association, they write that “stress, anxiety, smoking, heavy alcohol, caffeine, depression and sleep disorders are all possible causes of teeth grinding.” If you struggle with bruxism and some of these causes may apply to you, it’s worth looking into potentially reducing their impact on your life alongside other courses of treatment. According to Colgate, “70 percent of people clench and grind their teeth as a result of stress and anxiety.” General anxiety and stress-reduction techniques can be very helpful when attempting to stop grinding your teeth, especially if you grind your teeth during the day.
Following a bruxism exam, your dentist may recommend several possible courses of treatment for those determined to be suffering from bruxism. Far and away the most common prescription for reducing the effects of grinding your teeth in your sleep is what’s called an “occlusal appliance.” An occlusal appliance is basically a mouthguard that you wear at night, and that is designed to prevent damaging your teeth. These are generally custom-designed for your mouth, based on a mold which your dentist will cast.
If you grind your teeth primarily during the day, there are other courses of treatment that your dentist may be interested in pursuing. Often, becoming aware of your habits and gradually altering them is a useful way to fix daytime bruxism. There exist a number of ways to measure the pressure you’re putting on your teeth during the day, including electronic biofeedback instruments which alert you when you’re grinding your teeth.
In short, if you believe you are suffering from the side effects of grinding your teeth, don’t worry – in consultation with your dentist, you will surely be able to figure out a course of action that will reduce your symptoms. If you’re in the Weddington area, why not stop by Serene Dental Spa? Our combination dental office and spa is especially designed to reduce the stress and anxiety of going to the dentist. Given how big of a role stress and anxiety play in bruxism, Serene Dental Spa might just be the perfect place to start your bruxism treatment.