Teeth grinding, or to give it its proper name, bruxism, can cause considerable damage to teeth and gums if it occurs on a regular basis. Most people grind their teeth or clench them together every so often, and this probably won’t do any damage if it happens only occasionally, but it’s quite a different matter if you find you are grinding your teeth on a regular basis. If this is the case then it’s worth making an appointment with Dr David Brown or another dentist at Leeds City Dentalcare to have the problem diagnosed properly, and to find a workable solution.
How Does the Problem of Teeth Grinding Begin?
Bruxism is thought to be linked to stress and anxiety, and it’s a problem that generally occurs when sleeping. It can also be caused by having an abnormal bite, or through having crooked or missing teeth. It can be quite an easy problem to miss, and a lot of people only become aware that they are bruxist when informed about the noise they are making when grinding their teeth at night, often by a disgruntled sleeping partner. Other symptoms include waking up with a sore jaw or noticing your teeth meet together slightly differently. Sometimes teeth can also appear a little shorter than before, and people with chronic bruxism can even wear their teeth right down to stumps. It is obviously better to seek help before this happens, as in the worst case it might be necessary to have teeth restored through root canal therapy and bridges and crowns, and in the very worst cases they may need extracting completely and replacing with either implants or partial or full dentures.
The Effects of Teeth Grinding on the Temporomandibular Joint
Teeth grinding can also affect the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that hinges the jaw open and shut and is responsible for moving it from side to side. Bruxism can cause this joint to become inflamed and tender, and if the problem is left unresolved it can cause damage to this joint. In this case you may need specialist treatment from a maxillofacial surgeon. Getting treatment early on from your Leeds surgery is a far better option.
There are a lot of different things that can be done to treat this problem. One of the most common is to simply to provide you with a mouth guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth while asleep. This works by putting your jaw into a more relaxed position. Teeth grinding is a learned behaviour so wearing a night guard can often be sufficient to help break the habit. Other things to consider include trying to cut down on anything that is raising your stress levels. This might mean taking more exercise, trying yoga or meditation, or possibly getting a prescription for muscle relaxants.
You may also want to look at your diet and to cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine. This includes coffee and tea, and unfortunately chocolate. It can also help to become more aware of when you’re clenching or grinding your teeth. If you notice you’re beginning to clench your jaw during the day then try placing the tip of your tongue in between your teeth as this helps train your jaw muscles to relax. Other things that can help include using a warm flannel to help relax the muscles in your jaw at night.
The main thing is to seek help from dentist Leeds City Dentalcare before this problem can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums.