Teeth Grinding Can Hurt Day Or Night
You could have a problem and never realize it. You may be experiencing the symptoms without knowing they are signs of a different issue.
You could be grinding your teeth in your sleep, which can lead to dental problems and other issues that can affect you when you are awake.
Fortunately, dentists can help treat this condition. For patients who live in or near Rochester Hills, MI, you can turn to Hubbard & Leath Dental for assistance.
Today, we will be discussing teeth grinding, how it relates to TMJ disorders, and treatments for this condition.
Causes And Effects Of Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding is often an unconscious behavior. This is especially true for people who grind their teeth at night.
Many children do this but outgrow it as they get older. Nevertheless, the National Sleep Foundation reports that 8 percent of adults grind their teeth at night. That’s around 1 in 13 adults.
One of the most common reasons that people grind their teeth is stress. If you feel a lot of anxiety at work or in your personal life, one of the ways your body may cope with that stress is by grinding or clenching your teeth together.
This may be something you do when you are awake (whether or not you realize it), or it may be something you do for hours in your sleep.
Other studies have linked teeth grinding with alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine consumption and fatigue. Different people may have different triggers for their teeth grinding.
Another possible factor in teeth grinding is tooth alignment and shape. If you have a misshapen tooth, it can affect how your bite fits together, which could increase the likelihood of grinding your teeth inadvertently.
Over the long-term, teeth grinding can have some damaging effects.
You may be wearing down the protective enamel, which is the outer layer of your teeth. By doing this, you may be increasing your risk of developing tooth decay.
With little or no enamel, it is easier for bacteria to eat into the dentin or even the pulp at the center of your tooth. This can increase tooth sensitivity when biting or chewing or when it is exposed to hot, cold, or sweet foods or drinks.
Another potential side effect of teeth grinding is a TMJ disorder, which we will discuss in greater detail below.
Symptoms Of TMJ problems
Your TMJ is your temporomandibular joint. This is the scientific name for the jaw joints that connect your mandible (lower jaw) to your skull. This is ball-and-socket joint allows you to open and close your mouth to eat, speak, sing, and yawn.
When you grind your teeth together, you can put tremendous pressure on your jaw and the surrounding muscles. An average human bite can generate between 200 and 250 pounds of force. When you grind your teeth together, you can put 500 pounds of pressure or more on your teeth and jaw.
This can lead to a variety of problems, including:
• Headaches and earaches
• Neck, shoulder, and back pain
• Jaw pain, soreness, or tenderness
• Limited jaw mobility (including a having a stuck jaw temporarily)
These symptoms are not exclusive to TMJ disorders. If you are experiencing them, it does not necessarily mean that you grind your teeth together.
However, we would encourage you to pay attention whenever you notice these symptoms.
Do you wake up frequently with headaches? Does your jaw hurt during or after eating? Do you notice any of these pains after stressful situation or after days when you’ve felt particularly anxious?
If you have any suspicion that you may have a TMJ problem, please feel free to make an appointment so our dentists can take a closer look.
In many cases, you can alleviate your TMJ symptoms by finding a solution to grinding your teeth.
Some people can do this by finding new ways to manage the stress in their lives. Exercise, meditation, and breathing exercises may be what you need. Heat and cold can relieve pain and increase mobility. Eating softer foods can help, too.
If the do-it-yourself approach doesn’t seem to help, please call our office right away.
One of the ways we can help is be making a custom-fitted mouthguard for you to wear overnight. You will need some time to get used to wearing it, but it has proven to be effective for many patients.
This kind of mouthguard keeps your jaw in a more relaxed position. As your get accustomed to this, you may notice your jaw naturally rests this way even when you don’t have the guard in your mouth.
The mouthguard also protects your teeth by keeping them separated so you can’t grind them together.
End The Nightly Grind
We want you to save your teeth and relieve any pain it may be causing. Hubbard & Leath Dental has helped several patient with teeth grinding and TMJ problems, and we may be able to help you, too.
To schedule a consultation at our Rochester Hills, MI, dentist office, call [ohobe] or fill out our online form.