How Do I Know If I Grind My Teeth?
During routine visits, we look for the signs of teeth grinding and jaw clenching which can include:
- Worn teeth: teeth that appear “flat” have often been ground down by teeth grinding.
- Chipped, cracked teeth: the pressure that teeth grinding places on biting surfaces can lead to chipped, cracked and damaged teeth.
- Changes in the bite: over time, teeth grinding can cause the teeth to shift position and may impact the function and comfort of your bite.
- Clicking or popping jaws: the jaw may jump or pop when opening or chewing as teeth grinding increases muscle tension.
Other signs of teeth grinding include jaw pain (especially in the morning), a feeling of “tired jaws”, ringing in the ears, neck or shoulder pain and even recurring headaches. Discuss any symptoms or concerns you have during a routine visit or consultation with your Great Smile dentist. Proper treatment for teeth grinding can restore your oral health, the function of your bite and improve your overall comfort.
How Can I Stop Grinding My Teeth?
It is difficult to stop teeth grinding without identifying and treating the underlying cause. Dr. Schamback or your Great Smile dentist will evaluate your dental health with a comprehensive exam and diagnostics as needed to look for the underlying cause of your bruxism, including a TMJ disorder. We will also look for damage to the teeth or gums that should be addressed as a part of your overall treatment plan.
In addition to a recommended dental treatment, reducing stress can also help reduce teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Stress is often a trigger for these oral habits and stress management can be considered a part of your treatment plan to restore both dental health and improve physical wellness.
Treatment for Teeth Grinding
The most conservative and common treatment for teeth grinding and jaw clenching is the use of a night guard. A custom-made oral appliance that is typically worn at night to reposition the jaw and allow the muscles to relax. This appliance will fit much like a sports mouth guard and can also be worn when feeling stressed to prevent teeth grinding. Over time, in the absence of more complex dental concerns, a mouth guard will allow the jaw to function normally and reduce muscle tension and associated pain.
Other options can include restorative treatments to realign the teeth, the bite or to address tooth damage. A comprehensive approach to both diagnosis and treatment will provide the foundation for a more stable and lasting result.