Is bruxism affecting your life?
Teeth grinding (bruxism) is often caused by stress and anxiety, caffeine, smoking, heavy alcohol use, and even mood disorders such as depression. If you’ve ever woken up with a sore jaw and teeth, earaches, and headaches, it could be from grinding your teeth at night.
At the Gramercy dental office of Dr. Martin J. Schwartz, we provide a variety of treatments for teeth grinding, including customized mouth guards. Take a moment with us today and learn more about preventing bruxism.
When Teeth Grinding Happens
Teeth grinding often occurs at night, unconsciously in your sleep, and it can also occur during the day. Many people experience daytime bruxism from lifting heavy objects at work, concentrating on a task, or when they’re under pressure or a lot of stress at work.
Why is teeth grinding bad?
Teeth grinding is bad for your dental health because it wears on the enamel. As the enamel deteriorates, it exposes the dentin which can damage your tooth all the way down to the gums and make you vulnerable to chipping and cracking your teeth.
In severe cases, chronic bruxism can result in loosening or fracturing teeth and may require dental implants, crowns, bridges, root canals, or dentures.
What are the signs that teeth grinding is present?
The tell-tale signs of bruxism are the physical pain and discomfort from a sore jaw, earaches, and headaches, but your teeth will also show signs of excessive wear that a dentist can identify.
Preventing Teeth Grinding
There are a variety of ways to treat teeth grinding, but preventing it is typically seen in lifestyle changes. It’s important to know when and why you’re grinding your teeth — is it chronic because you’re overly stressed out or more acute when you have to give a presentation?
Tackling your stress is the number one way to help prevent teeth grinding. Implementing exercise and meditation are great ways to begin. Additionally, cutting back on caffeine and avoiding alcohol can be very helpful.
It’s also important to veer from habits that may make your teeth grinding worse. Things such as chewing on pens and pencils and ice. These habits reinforce clenching, making it difficult for your jaw muscles to relax.
To help keep your jaw muscles relaxed, you may want to incorporate stretching exercises and massage — mixing an essential oil such as lavender or peppermint with a massage oil is great for a facial massage and you get the added benefits of the essential oils that can help soothe and relax.
Dehydration has also been linked to teeth grinding, so staying well hydrated may help you stay on top of teeth grinding. Ensure you’re drinking plenty of water, especially if you’re out and about in the hot summer months.
Treating Teeth Grinding
If you’re at a point in your dental health where you need more emergency solutions, there are many ways to treat bruxism.
Botox – Believe it or not, Botox can help reduce the symptoms of teeth grinding by paralyzing or slowing some of the muscles in your jaw, leading to less clenching and grinding.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – While CBT may not be a rapid solution to treating teeth grinding, it or other forms of therapy may be helpful. Here you can explore with a professional the source of what’s causing you to grind your teeth, and talk through your stress and anxiety.
Mouth Guards – Mouths guards are a great treatment for those who experience nighttime bruxism because they create a physical barrier across your teeth, protecting them from damage.
Get Bruxism Relief Today!
If your teeth grinding has gone on too long and you need a solution, connect with our Gramercy dental office and schedule an appointment today!.