Teeth grinding, known as bruxism in the medical world, is a major dental concern, but can sometimes go unnoticed for long periods of time. Grinding your teeth can lead to all sorts of dental complications, such as chipped or broken teeth. You might be thinking, “But, wouldn’t I know if I was grinding my teeth?” Unfortunately, many people do not know that they are suffering from bruxism until diagnosed by a dentist or heard by a spouse or roommate. Identifying the causes, symptoms and cures for teeth grinding will allow you to identify if you or someone you know is dealing with this condition.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
There are several factors that lead to teeth grinding. Stress is one of the biggest of those factors. The Mayo Clinic lists several emotional states as leading causes for teeth grinding, including anxiety, suppressed anger or an exaggerated sense of competition. Other causes that the clinic list include abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth, changes during sleep cycles and complications resulting from a disorder, such as Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Children can grind their teeth as a response to pain from an earache or teething, or from the growth and development of the jaws and teeth.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
Most people (children and adults) who grind their teeth, do so at night while sleeping. Because of this factor, most people may not realize they are grinding their teeth unless a spouse or roommate makes them aware of it. However, there are other symptoms of teeth grinding that you can check for at home. The Mayo Clinic lists these as the top five symptoms of bruxism:
- Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured or chipped
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Jaw pain or tightness in your jaw muscles
- Enlarged jaw muscles
Other symptoms can include earache, headache, facial pain or chew marks on your tongue and cheeks.
Cures for Teeth Grinding
If you have worn down teeth that are damaged or sensitive, pain in your jaw, or others have mentioned you make a grinding sound while you sleep, go to your dentist immediately. He will be able to treat you best, and also be able to assess the damage already done to your teeth. If you cannot see a dentist, try sleeping with a mouth guard in your mouth and see if that reduces any pain or swelling. If you would like to see the dentist, got to 1Dental.com to sign up for a discount dental plan to make your visit affordable, and see the dentist as soon as possible.
Teeth grinding can go unnoticed but is a serious condition that you should address immediately to avoid major complications like TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) or breaking your teeth. Check your symptoms and see a dentist if you’re concerned you might be suffering from bruxism.