You might not even know that you are grinding your teeth, but if you do it long enough you’ll start to notice the pain it can cause. It can also cause damage to your teeth – here are some things you should know about tooth grinding.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
The medical term for tooth grinding is “bruxism,” and it is very common. You may find yourself grinding your teeth in the middle of a stressful day, but you might also do it as you sleep and not even know it. You may do it as a reaction to stress or anxiety; it may be a sign that you have a serious sleep problem, such as sleep apnea; or it may be because of a dental problem, such as a misaligned bite, crooked teeth, or missing teeth.
Everyone grinds their teeth occasionally, but when you do it over a long period of time it can affect your oral and overall health. You might start to have headaches, ear pain, and pain in the jaw and neck muscles. It can also start to affect your teeth (some people don’t even know they grind their teeth until their dentist tells them their teeth have been damaged). Your tooth enamel may start to wear off, and in extreme cases your teeth may develop cracks or chips. This can lead to even more serious problems, as bacteria can get into your teeth and cause infection.
What Can You Do About Bruxism?
Your dentist may be able to help if you grind your teeth – he or she may suggest a mouth guard, a piece of plastic that you wear over your teeth at night to prevent bruxism. It is also important to see your dentist so that your teeth can be checked for any damage from tooth grinding. If your bruxism is related to stress, you may want to find ways to deal with that stress, such as discussing your problems with a counselor.
There are many types of bruxism appliances. At Hampton Dental we offer a very deluxe option called a Talon Appliance that has a soft interior and a hard exterior. When put in warm water it gets soft and acts like a shock absorber for your grinding. Please let us know if you wish to hear about the different options for bruxism appliances.
If you are having jaw or tooth pain, or if you think you may grind your teeth, don’t wait! Contact Hampton Dental Associates for an appointment today! Call the office in Milwaukee at (414) 464-9021.