What Can Cause Grinding of Teeth?

What Can Cause Grinding of Teeth?

January 1, 2022

Bruxism occurs in some people as a reaction mechanism to anxiety and stress, but the disorder manifests during one’s calmer period, like when asleep, and can cause significant damage to the body. However, prolonged bruxism treatments can help patients manage the habit of clenching teeth and overcome it.

Causes and Symptoms of Bruxism

Each bruxism patient has a specific cause to their condition, and dentists at Wynnewood Dental Arts can work to identify the exact cause of your teeth grinding in Wynnewood, PA. It can be physical, psychological, and even genetic.

Mainly, daytime clenching results from stress, anxiety, tension, and sometimes concentration triggers. Tooth clenching at night is caused by hyperactivity, sleep apnea disorder, or acid reflux. Additionally, people taking certain types of medication have repaired tooth clenching to be a side effect. Using tobacco, excess caffeine, and alcohol are also risk factors for tooth grinding.

Age is also a risk factor for bruxism, where the condition is more common among children and goes away in adulthood. This condition can develop due to other mental and medical disorders like dementia, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and night terrors.

Impact of Tooth Grinding

The most common impact of tooth grinding is a pain in the jaws and teeth, tooth fracture, and headaches. The patient may also develop temporomandibular problems characterized by jaw muscles and joints that can inhibit chewing by causing a clicking sound when opening and closing the jaw and restricting the range of motion.

Most patients report teeth grinding in Wynnewood, PA, when the pain gets to the ears and temples. Treatment may also begin if your dentist in Wynnewood, PA detects wear patterns on the teeth caused by insistent teeth mashing.

Also, most people, especially adults, do not realize that they have a tooth grinding problem until their sleep partners inform them, or when they suffer migraines or wake up in pain and stiffness.

Symptoms of Bruxism

Below are the signs and symptoms of chronic bruxism:

  • Grinding and clenching teeth which can be loud enough to wake up your sleep partner
  • Flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose teeth
  • Worn out tooth enamel that exposes the deeper layers of the tooth
  • High tooth sensitivity and pain
  • Tired and sore jaw muscles, or having a locked jaw with limited movement
  • Soreness and pain in the neck, face, and jaw
  • Pain resembling an earache when there is no problem with your ear
  • Dull headaches beginning at the temples
  • Damage caused by chewing from inside your cheek
  • Sleep problems

Treatment for Tooth Clenching

Bruxism is mainly treated using night guards worn overnight to prevent the damage caused by clenching the upper and lower jaws against each other. However, the device will not stop the clenching; just control it to minimize the effects.

Regarding the patient’s specific symptoms, your doctor may recommend any of the following:

  • Medication: Mostly muscle relaxers to ease the jaw and control nighttime grinding. If you are on other medicines like antidepressants that can put you at risk of developing bruxism, your doctor may issue a supplementary prescription that doesn’t. Your physician may also begin you with antidepressants (that do not pose a risk for developing bruxism) if they can help you deal with stressors that stimulate your tooth grinding.
  • Procedures: Bruxism patients also receive Botox injections with the intent to paralyze jaw muscles and minimize teeth grinding. While the treatment is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), physicians have effectively used it since the 1990s and have proven to be safe and do not affect facial structures.
  • Behavioral techniques: You can also be referred to a psychologist who works with you to detect triggers and mitigate them through stress management techniques and relaxation. Biofeedback monitors the tension of jaw muscles and reveals the relaxing properties of the methods for stretching the jaw, neck, and head.

Other tips that can help curtail bruxism include:

  • Circumvent or minimize foods high in caffeine content like cola and coffee
  • Avoid alcohol as tooth clenching trends intensify after taking alcohol
  • Avoid chewing in non-food items like pencils and gum. These make the jaw muscles more used to clenching, so it becomes difficult to stop the habit.
  • Train to not clench your jaws. For example, if you clench in the daytime, place your tongue between your teeth. It’s a comfortable position that can help relax your jaw muscles.
  • Hold a warm washcloth against your cheek to relax your jaw muscles as you sleep.

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