Teeth grinding can damage the function of your jaw and the health of your teeth and gums. Often ignored, bruxism is a complex dental issue that should be addressed to prevent further or permanent damage to your chewing system.
While there is no singular cause for bruxism it is often believed to be triggered by stress, bite interferences, or neuromuscular issues. People may grind their teeth due to malocclusion (improper alignment of the teeth), Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD), or Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease.
Sometimes patients do not even know that they grind their teeth, but come into our office with significant signs. Dr. Heather Adams provides patients in Northwest Arkansas with comprehensive dental treatment options for bruxism. She is dedicated to helping patients find the source of their symptoms and discover effective and comfortable solutions.
Headaches, TMJ, & The Long-Term Effects of Bruxism
If you wake up with headaches, or experience chronic facial or jaw pain, you may grind your teeth. Patients are often unaware of the habit whether it occurs during sleep or while awake. Teeth grinding or jaw clenching can damage your bite and cause secondary dental concerns that require advanced restorative dental treatment.
A patient who grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw often develops a bite disorder known as TMJ. TMJ affects the health and function of the temporomandibular joint or the jaw joint. This complex system of muscles and nerve endings can become overly stressed and compromised, resulting in long-term painful symptoms and difficulty chewing.
Common signs of bruxism can include:
- Worn teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
- Damaged cheek tissue
Dr. Adams offers treatment options for preventing teeth from grinding and protecting your teeth and gums. Oral sleep appliance therapy is often highly effective for most patients who grind their teeth and have minimal TMJ dysfunction. A custom oral appliance that is similar to a sports mouthguard will be designed to comfortably fit your jaw.
The device is worn while sleeping and prevents the upper and lower jaw from grinding together. The jaw is able to rest comfortably and in good alignment allowing the muscles to relax and soft tissues to heal.
Patients who grind their teeth and wear an oral sleep appliance often enjoy nearly overnight relief from painful symptoms such as headaches and jaw pain. For some patients, a combination of restorative procedures and an oral sleep appliance will be necessary to fully restore their dental health.
Teeth Grinding FAQs
What are the risk factors for teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding is typically caused by stress but there are several risk factors. The most common ones include anxiety, consuming alcohol, especially in excess, smoking, consuming caffeine, snoring, sleep apnea, and certain drugs.
Should I be worried if my child grinds their teeth?
Teeth grinding in children is actually very common. Because your child’s teeth and jaw are still growing, it will most likely not cause any serious damage. In fact, they will probably grow out of it as they mature. However, if you notice obvious damage to their teeth or if they are experiencing pain, please schedule an appointment so they can be assessed.
Why should I treat my teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding is a condition that should not be ignored. It can lead to serious damage to your teeth as well as TMJ disorders. Tooth damage typically requires expensive dental treatments such as dental bridges, dental crowns, dental implants, and sometimes even dentures. TMJ disorders can be very painful and may interfere with your quality of life. They can cause problems with eating, and speaking as well as headaches and serious pain.
Contact Our Rogers, AR Dental Office
Do you think you may have bruxism? Call Dr. Adams for treatment at (479) 431-4212. You can also request a consultation with Dr. Adams on our website. If you have any further questions about bruxism or the treatment options for this dental problem, let our team know. We would be happy to help you get the answers you need.