Stopping The Daily Grind On Your Teeth
Let’s play a quick game of “would you rather”.
Would you rather wake up with a headache every morning or wake up without a headache?
Would you rather feel pain in your jaw whenever you eat anything firmer than scrambled eggs or eat comfortably?
Here’s the last one. Would you rather have your jaw open and close halfway or open and close all the way?
We are going to go way out on a limb and guess that you picked the second choice for all three questions. Unfortunately, some of you may be going through regular morning headaches, pains during or after meals, or limitations on the mobility of your jaw.
If you are experiencing one or more of those problems, our team at Hubbard & Leath Dental wants to help.
You may be struggling with nighttime teeth grinding, but we can help if you make an appointment at our dentist office in Rochester Hills, MI.
How Teeth Grinding Hurts You
It’s probably obvious that grinding your teeth into one another is not great for them.
The outer layer of your teeth is made of enamel, which is the hardest substance on the human body. When you grinding enamel into other hard things (like more enamel), it can start to wear down.
As you do this, you may expose the softer dentin (the layer under your enamel), which can lead to greater sensitivity when you try to eat and drink. This many also increase your risk of tooth decay and infected teeth.
As our introduction illustrated, this isn’t the only way teeth grinding can affect you.
By grinding your teeth together, you are putting added pressure on your jaw. Specifically, you are putting added pressure on the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and the muscles and other tissues around those joints. Each TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. These two joints allow you to open and close your mouth.
Teeth clenching and grinding can more than double the normal pressure that your jaw experiences while eating. That added pressure can lead to the kinds of pain we described above — frequent headaches, jaw and facial pain. It also may cause earaches and neck and shoulder pain.
Clenching and grinding also have the potential to limit the movement of your jaw. This could mean you are not able to fully open or fully close your mouth, and at times, you may find that you can’t move your jaw at all.
Why You May Be Grinding Your Teeth
It is possible that your teeth grinding is a direct result of an alignment issue with your teeth.
It’s also possible that your actions are a coping mechanism for dealing with stress in your life.
Many times people who grind their teeth are not aware that they are doing it, and millions of Americans will do this in their sleep. If you often experience the symptoms described earlier in the morning, that could be why.
And stress affects all of us at one time or another. Between our families, our jobs, and various unexpected financial matters, we have plenty of reasons we may be feeling stressed.
If you visit Hubbard & Leath, we will examine your teeth for signs of grinding and look at your jaw to see if your alignment may be a factor. We also will do whatever we can to help.
How To Treat Teeth Grinding
If your teeth grinding is relatively new, issue, you may be able to manage the symptoms by eating softer foods for a few days, using heat or cold to improve mobility or numb the pain, and finding ways to manage the stress in your life. Exercise, therapy, and relaxation techniques may be helpful.
If your problems persist, we can create a splint, which is a special oral appliance that you wear while you sleep.
This appliance serves as a barrier between your top and bottom teeth. This will prevent you from grinding them into one another.
The appliance also may shift the resting position of your jaw in a way that relieves the added pressure on your TMJ.
As you become more accustomed to wearing it, you should notice that your jaw pain and other symptoms go away. If they do persist, we will work with you to try to find another solution.
End Your Pain And Protect Your Teeth
We want to ease your pain and protect your teeth against additional damage.