Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Teeth Grinding

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Teeth Grinding

Even if you have your oral hygiene routine down pat, if you grind your teeth, your teeth (as well as the rest of your face) will eventually suffer the consequences.

That’s why we make teeth grinding treatment a key focus of our preventive dentistry services

Here, our dental expert at Perfect Smile Dental of Pleasant Hill, Dr. Nupur Gupta walks through the basics of teeth grinding and its complications so you can get the treatment you need as quickly as possible. 

A closer look at teeth grinding

Teeth grinding (bruxism) is an oral health condition in which you frequently grind, gnash, and/or clench your teeth. This often happens without your knowledge, and it can occur while you’re awake (awake bruxism) or while you sleep (sleep bruxism). 

It’s not completely understood where bruxism comes from, but many researchers believe that awake bruxism stems from emotional complications, such as stress and anxiety, whereas sleep bruxism is a sleep-related chewing activity linked to arousals during sleep.

Sleep bruxism is the most serious type of bruxism because you may not realize it’s a problem until complications develop. That’s why it’s important to be able to identify these warning signs of bruxism:

Virtually anyone can develop either awake or sleep bruxism, but some of the risk factors that increase your chances include:

Other disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), etc., can also contribute to bruxism.

Why you shouldn’t ignore teeth grinding

Mild bruxism often doesn’t require treatment, and many children with bruxism eventually outgrow it, but if it’s severe and pervasive, it can lead to complications. Here are just a few reasons why you shouldn’t let severe bruxism go untreated.

Headaches

The constant clenching and grinding put your facial muscles in a state of constant tension, which can trigger throbbing headache pain. 

Facial pain

Overworked facial muscles also lead to chronic pain in your jaw, cheeks, and the side of your head.

Jaw disorders

Beyond chronic pain, bruxism can also trigger temporomandibular disorders (TMJ). This is a muscle problem in your jaw and in the joints of your jaw that impacts your range of motion.

Tooth damage

Perhaps the most concerning complication of untreated bruxism is the potential damage to your teeth. As you clench and grind, you weaken and loosen your teeth and leave them vulnerable to fractures.

Your treatment options

Because bruxism can go undetected, it’s crucial that you schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings. During your appointment, we’re able to spot the warning signs of bruxism, such as changes in your teeth, and take a proactive approach. 

If we detect bruxism, we may recommend:

Sometimes, the key to solving your bruxism problems is to address the underlying cause. For example, if we feel your bruxism is related to a sleep disorder, we may refer you to a sleep medicine specialist. 

We may also encourage you to make lifestyle changes such as managing stress to control the severity and frequency of bruxism. 

Don’t spend another day wondering about your oral health. Request an appointment online or over the phone at our Pleasant Hill, California, office today. 

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