Teeth grinding is a very common problem that we see among patients. It most commonly occurs while the patient is asleep, but can also happen throughout the day, usually without conscious action. Light grinding of the teeth can be harmless, but most of the time we find that it is best to nip this habit in the bud as soon as possible. Below, you will learn why you may be grinding your teeth, how that effects your oral health, and what solutions are available to fix the habit.
Grinding of the teeth is frequently caused by stress and anxiety. During sleeping and waking hours, you are more likely to grind your teeth if there is something stressful going on in your life. Keep in mind that because it can be habit forming, teeth grinding can continue even after the anxiety-inducing stimulus is removed. Grinding of the teeth can also be caused by an abnormal bite or crooked teeth. If there is something awry in your mouth, grinding is an unconscious way to try and fix the problem. Sleep apnea also causes most patients to grind their teeth when sleeping.
The effects of grinding your teeth are numerous. Perhaps the most significant impact is on your enamel and the surface of your teeth. Over time, constant teeth grinding can wear down the divots on the surface of your teeth and cause them to be more susceptible to bacteria, and ultimately cavities. Very severe grinding can even lead to tooth loss. Symptoms to be aware of are lower jaw pain or morning headaches. Your significant other may also be able to tell you if are grinding while you sleep.
If you think that you’re grinding may be stress related, ask a medical professional about ways to reduce stress and anxiety. These methods will be different for each patient, so make sure that you consult a professional. Additionally, one of the most common and most successful solution is to get fitted for a night guard. A night guard is a small, comfortable and fitted piece of equipment that will protect your teeth from grinding at night. If you grind during the day, make sure to be more cognizant of your habit to train yourself away from it. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they are known to lead to higher levels of teeth grinding. Minimizing gum chewing can also help alleviate symptoms. If your teeth are already severely damaged by grinding, give us a call at (303) 421-7611 for a complimentary consultation. We will work to find your ideal solution.