You may grind your teeth and not even know it – but years of bruxism (the medical term for tooth grinding) can cause serious issues with your oral and general health. Here is some information on some signs that you may grind your teeth, the problems this can cause, and how your dentist can help.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
Everyone grinds their teeth occasionally, but it becomes a real problem when you do it all the time. You might do it in the middle of the day when you are under stress, or you might do it in the middle of the night and only know that you do it because your partner can hear it as they are trying to sleep (yes, it can get that loud). You might not know that you grind your teeth until you go to your dentist and he or she tells you that your teeth are damaged.
Tooth grinding can wear down the tooth enamel and can even cause chips or cracks in teeth, and it can also result in headaches, jaw pain, ear pain, and muscle aches in the neck and shoulders. There are different reasons that people grind their teeth:
- Dental issues. If you are missing a tooth, your teeth are crooked, or your bite is misaligned, it can contribute to tooth grinding.
- Sleep issues. Bruxism can be related to sleep issues such as sleep apnea.
- Mental health issues. Tooth grinding seems to be one way the body tries to deal with stress and anxiety.
What Can You Do About Bruxism?
The best treatment for bruxism depends on why you grind your teeth. You might want to find effective ways to deal with stress, see your dentist for help with dental issues, or talk to your doctor about medication such as muscle relaxants. Your dentist may also suggest a mouth guard.
Bruxism is not only painful; it can lead to serious dental issues. Don’t wait to get help if you think you grind your teeth – contact Pacific Northwest Smiles today! Call the office in Mill Creek, Washington, at 425-357-6400 to make an appointment.