Should I worry if I’m grinding my teeth?

iStock_000016058659SmallBruxism, a.k.a. clenching and/or grinding, is often an unconscious habit brought on by normal daily stress as well as certain types of exercising. Symptoms can include jaw pain or clicking, popping, tooth sensitivity, chipping/breaking of teeth, headaches, ear aches, insomnia, and depression. Not everyone experiences these symptoms right away.

Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. People who clench or grind their teeth (brux) during sleep are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring and pauses in breathing (sleep apnea) says the Mayo Clinic.

Long-term effects of bruxism include: gum disease, gum recession, tooth sensitivity, cavities, increased facial drooping, TMD (temporal mandibular dysfunction) as well as tooth loss.

We can’t cure your habit but we can help you manage it! Treatment for bruxism involves prevention with the use of an occlusal guard while sleeping or participating in activities where you are clenching/grinding. An occlusal guard is a rigid plastic mouthpiece that is custom made to fit over your teeth. Along with an occlusal guard, practicing habits during the day to reduce stress such as meditation and aerobic or yoga exercising can be helpful to reduce the amount of bruxing during sleep. If your bruxism is related to a sleep disorder, it is important to talk to your physician about treatment.

At Smile Envy, located in Grove City, OH, we take pride in helping our community. We are dedicated to caring for you and your family’s oral health care needs, recommending regular dental check-ups for everyone.  We want to help you stay healthy, giving you something to smile about. Give us a call at 614.801.0079 to schedule.