Teeth grinding can damage the function of your jaw and the health of your teeth and gums. Bruxism, or teeth clenching and grinding, is an often ignored complex dental issue. Addressing this problem can prevent further or permanent damage to your chewing system.
There is no singular cause for bruxism. However, bruxism is often believed to be triggered by stress, bite interferences, or neuromuscular issues. People may grind their teeth due to malocclusion (improper teeth alignment). Teeth grinding is a common symptom of bite disorders like Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD). Medical conditions like Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease can increase instances of teeth grinding.
Sometimes, patients do not even know that they grind their teeth. However, they 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. With her help, patients can discover practical and comfortable solutions to teeth grinding.
Headaches, TMJ, and 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 during sleep or while awake. Teeth grinding or jaw clenching can damage your bite and cause secondary dental concerns. Sometimes, these concerns 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 or jaw joint. This complex system of muscles and nerve endings can become overly stressed and compromised. As a result, patients with TMJ can experience 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
Treatment for teeth grinding and TMJ disorders may be the same. We can address teeth grinding and other symptoms by relaxing the jaw joints and muscles. Our office can also protect teeth from grinding together.
Treating Teeth Grinding in Rogers, AR
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 patients who grind their teeth and have minimal TMJ dysfunction. Dr. Adams can design a custom oral appliance similar to a sports mouthguard to fit your jaw comfortably.
Wearing this device while sleeping prevents the upper and lower jaw from grinding together. The jaw can rest comfortably and in good alignment. Bruxism devices allow 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. Morning headaches and jaw pain are common in patients who grind their teeth. For some patients, restorative procedures and an oral sleep appliance will be necessary to restore their dental health fully.
Reducing Teeth Grinding At Home
Follow these tips to help decrease teeth grinding and painful symptoms at home:
- Learn Relaxing Exercises: You can gently work your jaw muscles to prevent jaw clicking and popping. One common exercise is to place the tip of your tongue on the roof of the mouth. Then, slowly open and close your mouth.
- Use a Warm Compress: Ice is best for new injuries. However, if you experience chronic teeth grinding, we recommend using a heat pack. You can wrap a heating pad around your jaw to relax your muscles.
- Eat Soft Foods: When you experience headaches and jaw pain from teeth grinding, take a break from hard and crunchy foods. Hard foods place pressure and stress on your teeth and jaw.
While it is not always possible to prevent teeth grinding from happening again, you can avoid associated pain. Some patients may notice their teeth grinding goes away. However, other patients may continue to feel pain and discomfort from teeth grinding. If you continue to experience bruxism, contact our dental office for treatment.
Teeth Grinding FAQs
Read answers to commonly asked questions patients have about teeth grinding:
What are the risk factors for teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding is typically caused by stress, but several risk factors exist. The most common ones include:
- Consuming alcohol
- Consuming caffeine
- Sleep apnea
Should I be worried if my child grinds their teeth?
Teeth grinding in children is prevalent. Because your child’s teeth and jaw are still growing, it will likely not cause severe damage. 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. We can examine their smile.
Why should I treat my teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding is a condition that should not be ignored. It can lead to severe 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. This is because we may need to remove severely damaged teeth.
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 severe pain. Treating teeth grinding can prevent permanent damage and painful symptoms.
Can teeth grinding chip a tooth?
Yes. It’s normal for continual teeth grinding to wear down the outer layer of your teeth. If you have a severe case of teeth grinding, you can chip or break a tooth. Teeth grinding can also damage dental fillings or teeth that are already weakened.
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. Let our team know if you have any further questions about bruxism or your treatment options for teeth grinding. We would be happy to help you get the answers you need.