Loading
Testimonials Survey Blog Patient Forms
Dropdown button
Welcome to our blog

El Portal Dental Blog

rss

For the latest news about Dr. Nguyen and El Portal Dental Group, read our newsletter below. You’ll learn about:


Why am I Grinding My Teeth?
Why am I Grinding My Teeth?

Why am I Grinding My Teeth?

Bruxism – the medical term for grinding your teeth – is a damaging habit that not only is bad for your teeth, but can be detrimental to your health in general. Those who grind their teeth during sleep hours are most often unaware they’re doing it. If you awaken each morning or even occasionally with a slight, but constant, headache, or if your jaw is sore in the morning, then you may have been grinding your teeth in your sleep. If you aren’t sure, ask your partner – you will be sure to get an honest response! If you have been grinding your teeth while you sleep, there could be a number of reasons why. Here are some possible reasons why your doctor likely will diagnose you with bruxism.

Why we Grind

What is interesting about bruxism is that it is an effect, not a cause. Teeth grinding usually is the result of a number of different scenarios. Some of include problems sleeping or sleep deprivation, crooked or missing teeth or an over- or under-bite.  Stress has been known to cause bruxism; it can also result from sinus and/or infections, colds, allergies, or other medical conditions.

Who Grinds?

There is no singular type of person who grinds teeth – both male and female; old and young may go through bouts of teeth grinding. The one thing they all share are the similar outcomes, which include:

-       Pain and discomfort, which can include earaches, toothaches, and sore jaw and facial muscles; not to mention, the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull can be damaged as a result of clenching and/or grinding.

-       Tooth damage, especially to the enamel of both natural and restored teeth. And the more you grind, the more your teeth (to include caps, fillings, and crowns) will be affected. Additionally, the pressure from grinding result in loose or cracked teeth.

-       Sleep deprivation and exhaustion. If you find yourself (or your loved ones) exhausted during the day, it could be the result of your bruxism. And that lack of sleep can make you less productive, put you at risk for disease and accidents, as well as weight gain.

-       TMJ is a pain disorder that is localized in the jaw joint. Persons with TMJ will experience jaw pain, clicking of the jaw and sometimes the jaw will lock. Difficulty chewing is also a symptom.

Put an End to Chronic Teeth Grinding

Depending on the reason for your bruxism, you may be advised any number of solutions. Because bruxism occurs while sleeping, a mouth guard to protect your teeth is a good idea. Your dentist will devise a guard to fit your mouth so that your teeth are protected during sleep. This is the first line of defense, however a more deliberate approach may be in order, if stress is the reason you grind your teeth. There are options that will help you to reduce stress. Ask your healthcare provider or counselor for advice and techniques that will help.  Remedies may include exercises, muscle relaxants, or relaxation exercises. If sleep apnea is behind the grinding, then making an appointment to see a sleep specialist should be a priority.

Cutting back on alcohol and caffeinated drinks may help grinding to subside. Avoid chewing on anything that is not food (e.g., pens, pencils, hair); continuing to do so trains your jaw to clench which in turn causes teeth to grind.

Diagnosis

You still might not be sure about the grinding, unless someone is present during the time that you sleep and can hear and observe the grinding action. Otherwise, the only way to be certain that the symptoms you experience are related to bruxism is to see a dentist, who can confirm your suspicions. During your appointment, your dentist will be able to spot signs of bruxism and make recommendations accordingly.

If you suspect (or are being told) that you’re grinding your teeth at night, El Portal Dental Group can help relieve you deal with the problem. Call us to request an appointment to be examined. We will determine for sure whether you’re suffering from bruxism and will provide a solution to any of your dental needs. Call El Portal Dental Group today by calling 209-385-1479.