For many, grinding their teeth is a nighttime bane they don’t even know about. Often for many, tooth grinding only becomes apparent when symptoms appear, others point it out, or a dentist recognizes the signs. Unfortunately, this means that you can accrue a hefty amount of damage thanks to your teeth grinding habit. The damage it causes can be long lasting and in some cases irreversible.
What can you do about teeth grinding and how can you even know you’re doing it? It starts with recognizing the signs or self diagnosing enough to talk to a dentist about your fears. A dentist can fully diagnose you and offer a path towards treatment, though teeth grinding may be something you deal with your whole life. But preparing yourself with knowledge can save your teeth and jaw muscles.
Do you grind your teeth?
Many people don’t even realize they grind their teeth. Teeth grinding happens while you’re asleep, subconsciously triggered, though it can sometimes happen while you’re awake as well. It tends to go on for a few seconds at a time. One of the first signs you’ve ground your teeth in your sleep is a sore jaw, sore mouth, or a headache. Sometimes your partner or anyone else who shares a room with you will be able to hear the grinding. In cases of long term grinding, enlarged jaw muscles present themselves in certain patients. All of this is a sign you’ve been grinding your teeth.
Your jaw is often the strongest muscle in your body, ounce for ounce, even before extra activity generates enlarged muscles. This means that you can inflict a lot of real damage to your teeth by grinding. The grinding can wear down teeth and cause chipping, the overworking can tire muscles, and the compression can harm your jaw joint, resulting in chronic conditions like TMJ. Once these conditions set in, it’s hard to reverse the damage done.
What to do about teeth grinding
If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms in yourself, there are steps you can take to avoid irreversible damage before it’s too late. Oftentimes, a dentist will fit you with a calibrated night guard to wear in your sleep. It won’t stop you from biting down or your jaw from working, but it will protect your teeth. To try and combat grinding itself, try doing a de stressing activity before bed as grinding is often caused by stress. When you chew, try to be conscious of correct movement on your teeth for optimal contact between them.
If you suspect you’ve been grinding your teeth or know you have damage from teeth grinding, we can help. Talk to Flower Dental about your concerns and we’ll get you in to see a dentist who can offer a proper diagnosis as well as treatment options. You don’t need to deal with your tooth grinding on your own or let the problem go. Get medical attention to negate the consequences.