Frequent headaches, worn teeth, or broken teeth can be caused by several factors, but one of the most common culprits is teeth grinding, clinically called “bruxism.” Many people don’t realize they grind their teeth as it often happens while they are sleeping, but it can also happen throughout the day. Your Northern VA dentist at Ridgetop Dental Group can identify signs of teeth grinding and help you with ways to stop it and its side effects.
Why Do I Grind My Teeth?
Teeth grinding is commonly associated with stress, whether from your own personal environmental factors or stress inside the mouth and jaw from a dental problem. When teeth, jaw, and intricate system of muscles in the mouth and neck aren’t working properly, it creates tension. This tension can lead to headaches, facial pain, and teeth grinding.
Tooth grinding and jaw clenching often indicate an issue with the bite. The “bite” refers to the alignment of your teeth. People who grind or clench their teeth often have uneven bites, such as an underbite or overbite.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
Dentists can usually easily identify signs of teeth grinding even before you do, 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 Teeth Grinding
A lot of advice suggests reducing your stress levels, which may help you stop grinding your teeth, but if that stress is inside the mouth and out of your control, you’ll need other ways to help stop teeth grinding. Often, stress reduction and occlusal appliances are combined to treat bruxism.
There are a few different options available in the form of occlusal appliances. You might be familiar with night guards, which are a type of occlusal appliance. These are custom-fitted to each patient’s mouth and designed to fit over the top or bottom teeth to stop nighttime teeth grinding.
For more severe cases, your dentist may recommend mandibular advancement devices, which are designed to bring the jaw forward when the dentist suspects a sleep disorder is causing the problem. These devices are often referred to as “snore guards,” which help align the jaw during sleep to help with sleep apnea or snoring.
Bruxism Treatment in Northern VA
Teeth grinding can damage teeth and keep you from living a pain-free life, so it’s important to seek treatment if you grind your teeth. Ridgetop Dental Group is a full-service dental office that can help you put an end to bruxism and keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Schedule your appointment online today or call us.