Danger in the Night – Tooth Grinding
Have you been told that you grind your teeth at night? You might think this is just an annoying habit you wish would go away. Did you know that grinding your teeth can be dangerous to your health?
The Hidden Dangers of Grinding Your Teeth
At Alabama Family Dentistry with four locations in the Birmingham area, we see the damage done from years of nightly teeth grinding and jaw clenching. The formal name for teeth grinding is bruxism. Bruxism consists of two actions, clenching and grinding. Clenching is a tightening of the jaw that presses teeth together tightly. Grinding is friction that happens when the teeth rub back and forth or side to side against each other. You can clench without grinding, but grinding always includes clenching. Teeth grinding is usually caused by factors including poorly aligned teeth and emotional stress. Some people only clench or both clench and grind their teeth at night. In addition to actual abnormal wear and tear, often resulting in the formation of grooves in the teeth, clenching and grinding can cause serious health issues such as:
• Jaw and facial muscle pain
• Loosened teeth
• Cracked and chipped teeth
• Weakened teeth that grow sensitive to heat and cold
• Increased risk of cavities
• Ear pain
• Ringing in the ears
• Neck pain
Bruxism Preventative Care at Alabama Family Dentistry
Many people who grind their teeth at night find relief from a custom fit acrylic mouth guard worn at bedtime. This guard can protect the surface of the teeth and reduce the pressure from clenching. Since stress and anxiety are often part of the cause of clenching and grinding, techniques such as meditation, psychotherapy, natural sleep supplements, anxiety medication, and hypnosis can be helpful to some people.
Tooth Grinding Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment
Cosmetic dentistry can offer significant relief and improve the appearance of teeth as well. For mild cases of teeth grinding, a bonding agent or porcelain veneers can restore and protect chipped teeth. For more serious damage, a crown or overlay may work well. Since tightly spaced teeth and poor alignment can contribute to bruxism, some people may benefit from Invisaline braces. This treatment combines preventative care with cosmetic dentistry and can provide significant improvements in your dental health.
If you’d like personal advice and targeted treatment for your teeth grinding issues, our friendly, knowledgeable staff at Alabama Family Dentistry will be happy to help you. Call us for an initial consultation today.