Associates of Dental Arts
Dr. Gregory Kivett

Bruxism/Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the dental term for teeth grinding. It is common for people to grind their teeth occasionally with little or no damage to their teeth and jaw. However, continuously grinding your teeth will cause severe problems. Teeth grinding can be either a loud grating contact or silent clenching. Since bruxism most often occurs at night when you are asleep, you may not notice you are grinding your teeth until you have symptoms

Adults and children of all ages can suffer from teeth grinding. Drugs, alcohol, some sleep disorders can make the condition worse. Colds, infections, and pain from earaches and teething are all reasons that children can develop bruxism.

Why do I grind my teeth?

It is not known what causes teeth grinding. However, it appears that stress and anxiety are triggers for bruxism. A misaligned bite or crooked teeth may also contribute to bruxism. At Associates of Dental Arts, we look at your mouth in the context of your overall health and wellness in order to help identify the cause and potential treatment for grinding teeth.  

Why is bruxism bad?

Occasionally grinding your teeth does not usually cause any damage to the jaw or teeth. However, chronic bruxism can cause serious dental issues such as broken teeth, loose teeth or losing teeth. If untreated, bruxism can grind your teeth down to stumps that require extensive and expensive treatment. Bruxism can also cause TMJ (pain in the temporomandibular joint).

What can I do to stop grinding my teeth?

A mouth guard or night guard will defend your teeth against damage while sleeping. However, it is important to try to identify what is causing the grinding and treat the triggers. Stress reduction, exercise, and muscle relaxers can help reduce teeth grinding. Here are some steps you can take on your own to help treat bruxism:

  • Cut back or eliminate foods from your diet that contain caffeine such as soda, coffee, tea and chocolate
  • Avoid alcohol because it can increase the frequency and severity of bruxism
  • Do not chew on non-food items like pencils, pens, or gum because it can condition jaw muscles to clench and make bruxism more likely
  • Take note of your mouth and try to catch yourself when you are grinding your teeth and make yourself relax. Putting your tongue between your front teeth can help stop teeth grinding
  • Relax your jaw before bed by using a warm washcloth on the cheek in front of the earlobe

If you continue to have issues with your teeth grinding after trying all of the above home remedies, it may be time to seek an expert for help. At Associates of Dental Arts, we will be your partner in treating your bruxism through education and creating a plan of action to help alleviate the systems. Do not keep suffering, call us today for an appointment.

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