Are you suffering from frequent headaches? Are your teeth broken or worn? Although this ailment can be brought on by several causes, one of the most common culprits is habitual teeth grinding — bruxism in clinical terminology. You may be thinking, ‘But I don’t grind my teeth!” However, many people that are suffering from bruxism don’t even realize it. For many people, it happens while they are sleeping, but you may also catch yourself doing it during the day while you are distracted. Dentists like Dr. John C. Cranham in Chesapeake, VA can diagnose teeth bruxism and provide you with ways to treat it and its side effects.
Why Am I Grinding My Teeth?
Tooth grinding and jaw clenching are frequently signs of an issue with your bite. This term refers to the alignment of your teeth when you close your mouth. People with a teeth grinding or clenching habit often have uneven bites, such as an underbite or overbite.
Teeth grinding can be the product of stress — the kind brought on by your own personal or environmental factors or dental stress caused by issues with your mouth and jaw. When the teeth, jaw, and complex system of muscles in the mouth and neck aren’t perfectly in synch, the tension that results can lead to headaches, facial pain, and teeth grinding.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
Dentists can usually easily identify signs of teeth grinding, such as:
- Worn or dull teeth, especially chips or flat spots
- Sensitive teeth
- Jaw pain
- Frequent headaches
- Cuts or sores on the inside cheek
How to Stop Teeth Grinding
The advice dentists most often give to stop bruxism is for the patient to reduce their stress levels, which may help them to stop grinding their teeth. However, if that stress is caused by a dental issue inside the mouth, the patient has no control over this stress. At that point, patients will need to consult with their dentist for other ways to help stop teeth grinding. Dentists frequently prescribe stress reduction and occlusal appliances together to treat teeth grinding problems.
There are a few different options in occlusal appliances from which patients can choose. You may already be familiar with night guards. This type of occlusal appliance is custom-fitted to each patient’s mouth and made to fit over the top or bottom teeth to prevent nighttime teeth grinding.
For more severe problems with your bite, your dentist may recommend mandibular advancement devices. These appliances pull the patient’s jaw forward to keep airways open when the dentist suspects a sleep disorder is causing the problem. These devices are sometimes referred to as “snore guards,” because they are designed to help align the jaw during sleep to treat sleep apnea or snoring.
Bruxism Treatment in Chesapeake, VA
Teeth grinding can damage teeth and keep you from living a pain-free life, so it’s important to seek treatment if you grind your teeth. Dr. Cranhami’s office in Chesapeake, VA is a full-service dental practice that can help you put an end to bruxism and keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Call 757.656.4109 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.