The daily grind. When you read this, what you probably imagine is your latest project at work, or how you will get all the kids to their activities and still have time to make a healthy dinner. What we’re talking about, though, is teeth grinding. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching. These two habits often go hand in hand. We refer to them as one condition: bruxism. With all the talk of gum disease and cavities, bruxism tends to get very little attention. But what is interesting is that this problem can increase your risk for the other two!
Getting Away from the Grind
Knowing that bruxism can cause other issues in your mouth, including gum recession, fractures, and the excessive wearing down of enamel, does very little if you don’t know that you are engaging in the habits of clenching and grinding. And you know what? Most people don’t. Bruxism is a sneaky little problem that often goes on at night when you are sleeping. For this reason, it can be difficult to get help before some type of damage has been done. If you or your dentist suspect that you are chewing on logs, rather than cutting them while you sleep, there are several ways that the problem may be addressed.
- Stress management. It may sound strange for a dental team to discuss stress reduction as a method of relieving a dental condition, but this is exactly the case with bruxism. The tension that is released through (or placed on) the clenched jaw has roots in the stress that has occurred during the day. Whether you like to go for walks, do yoga, or just sit quietly, do it! Your teeth and your body will thank you.
- Dental care. There are a few ways that we can help you minimize the damage that may be caused by clenching and grinding your teeth. To discover the best approach, we analyze your bite to make sure your upper and lower teeth are fitting together when you bite down. Malocclusion may be corrected to keep the jaw from working so hard to achieve the proper fit. Also, we can make a custom-fit mouth guard to be worn while you sleep. This can blunt the force of your clenching and protect your teeth and jaw.
Bruxism doesn’t have to be a lifelong problem. Get help at (409) 895-0089.