Are you aware that more than 90% of us grind or clench our teeth at some point in our lives? Tooth grinding (officially called bruxism) is usually caused by stress and anxiety but can also have other causes.
There are two types of bruxism – grinding that happens during the day and at night bruxing. During the day, teeth grinding can occur when you’re frustrated, tense, or deep in concentration. When you sleep, it’s more of an unconscious habit. This is when it happens for most people.
Whether it’s during the day or night, grinding can be very damaging to your teeth because it can wear down your tooth enamel (which is irreplaceable) and weaken fillings and crowns. It can also damage your teeth and cause jaw pain. The sooner you get bruxism treatment, the less damage your smile will incur.
Here are some common signs of bruxism:
- a painful or stiff jaw
- sensitive, loose, or broken teeth
- sore gums
- sores on the insides of your cheek
- a popping noise that comes from your jaw joint
- morning headaches
- worn-down teeth
- fatigu edue to a lack of restful sleep.
What does bruxism treatment entail?
In the past, attempts to cure bruxism ranged from sound alarms, electrical stimulation, psychotherapy, hypnosis, and drugs. Today, you have different options.
In mild cases, bruxism treatment may not be necessary. All of us can grind our teeth while under extreme stress. But, when it becomes a nightly occurrence, bruxism treatment may be necessary. As a dentist in Arlington, after a thorough examination of your teeth, cheeks, and gums, we may recommend a custom-made nightguard to prevent night bruxism. It acts as a barrier between your teeth and as a cushion to help ease the tension in your jaw muscles. While nightguards can be purchased at the pharmacy without a prescription, custom-made nightguards offer the best and most comfortable fit. And they are extremely durable. We may also recommend that before we fit your nightguard that we make repairs to your damaged teeth – allowing you to smile with confidence. This also ensures a good long-term fit for your nightguard.
There are also several stress reduction techniques and other bruxism treatments people have tried since the root cause for many people is stress related. Some of these techniques include:
- Meditation is known to reduce stress. If you’re more tech-savvy, there are several meditation apps available. If you’re more traditional, consider joining a meditation group. With many options available, ensure you find the one that’s best for you.
- Yoga. This mind-body practice uses controlled breathing, physical movements, and poses to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. As yoga is both a physical and mental activity, it helps you achieve peace of mind, which can help you relax and manage your stress and anxiety levels.
- Talk Therapy. Talking to a professional, friend, or family member may help reduce your anxiety, make you feel less depressed, and alleviate your stress.
- Exercise If you’re new to exercise, start off slow and build it into your daily activities. There are several health and mental benefits – and it’s worth it. And there are other specific things that you can do to help reduce stress too. Some of these you’ll know all about, but in day-to-day living, it’s easy to let them slide. Check off a few and see how well you do with them today. Slowly increase and work into your every-day routines. Good luck!
- Relax your muscles – Start at the top of your head and work your way down your body to mindfully relax every muscle. Go slowly and meticulously.
- Box breathe – Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4. Repeating for even just a few times will help, or if you have time, set a timer and spend 10-15 minutes or more.
- Slow down –In our world, we tend to put the pressure on ourselves to go faster, higher, longer… Give yourself a break.
- Find your “flow” – Have you ever just had so much enjoyment out of an activity that everything else just disappears? Usually it’s something creative. Do some exploring and start creating!
- Eat well – Making good food choices will keep your body hydrated, nourished, satisfied, and energized.
Why should you schedule an appointment with your dentist in Arlington for bruxism treatment?
If untreated, bruxism will cause damage to your teeth. It can lead to worn tooth enamel which increases your risk for decay. Long-term bruxism can also erode the chewing surfaces of your teeth, causing them to become dull. In severe cases, bruxism may lead to fractured or chipped teeth and even permanent tooth loss.
If you think that you’re grinding your teeth at night, call us. As a dentist in Arlington we’ll check your mouth for signs of damage and have a conversation about your concerns. We will be able to evaluate your teeth and implement the most suitable treatment for you. Call (817) 277-1188 now to request a free consultation with us at Golden Rule Dental Care.