Do you find yourself suffering from frequent headaches? Are your teeth broken or worn? Although these conditions can be brought on by several factors, one of the most common culprits is habitual tooth grinding — bruxism in clinical terms.
You might think, ‘But I don’t grind my teeth!” However, many people with bruxism don’t even realize they are grinding. For many, it happens while they are sleeping, but can also occur during the day while you are distracted. Dentists like the skilled professionals at AH Smiles of Arlington Heights, IL can diagnose teeth bruxism and provide you with ways to treat it and its side effects.
Why Do I Grind My Teeth?
Tooth grinding and jaw clenching often stem from an issue with your bite, which is a way of referring to the alignment of your teeth. People who suffer from bruxism often have uneven bites, such as an underbite or overbite.
Teeth grinding can result from stress — the kind caused by your own personal or environmental factors or the dental kind brought on by problems with your mouth and jaw. When the teeth, jaw, and complex system of muscles in the mouth and neck aren’t working together properly, the resulting tension can lead to headaches, facial pain, and teeth grinding.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
Dentists can easily spot signs of teeth grinding, such as:
- Worn or dull teeth, especially chips or flat spots
- Sensitive teeth
- Jaw pain
- Frequent headaches
- Cuts or sores on the inside cheek
How to Stop Tooth Grinding
The advice most often suggested is for the patient to reduce your stress levels, which may help them to stop grinding their teeth. However, if that stress is coming from a dental issue inside the mouth, it is out of their control. At that point, patients will need to consult with their dentist for other ways to help stop teeth grinding. Often, stress reduction and occlusal appliances are prescribed together to treat bruxism.
There are several different occlusal appliances available to treat tooth grinding. You may already be familiar with mouth guards — a type of occlusal appliance worn at night. Mouth guards are custom-fitted to fit over the patient’s top or bottom teeth to prevent nighttime teeth grinding.
For more severe cases, your dentist may recommend mandibular advancement devices, which pull the patient’s jaw forward when the dentist suspects a sleep disorder is causing the problem. These devices are often called “snore guards,” as they are designed to help align the jaw during sleep to help with sleep apnea or snoring.
Bruxism Treatment in Arlington Heights, IL
Teeth grinding can damage tooth enamel, leading to sensitivity or even pain, so it’s important to seek treatment if you believe you may be grinding your teeth. AH Smiles is a full-service dental office that can help you put an end to bruxism and have a healthy smile. Call (847) 230-9703 to schedule an examination or request a consultation online.