Do you suffer from frequent headaches? Do you have broken or worn teeth? Although these conditions can be caused by several factors, one of the most common is teeth grinding — bruxism in clinical terms. You may be saying, ‘But I don’t grind my teeth!” However, many people don’t even realize they are doing it. For many, it happens as they are sleeping, but it can also happen throughout the day while you are distracted. Charlotte, NC dentist Dr. Leonard Hess can easily identify teeth bruxism and provide you with ways to treat it and its side effects.
Why Do I Grind My Teeth?
Tooth grinding and jaw clenching often indicate an issue with the bite. The “bite” refers to the alignment of your teeth. People who grind or clench their teeth often have uneven bites, such as an underbite or overbite.
Teeth grinding often stems from stress. This can be stress caused by your own personal or environmental factors or dental stress brought on by issues with your mouth and jaw. When the teeth, jaw, and intricate system of muscles in the mouth and neck aren’t working together properly, tension can result, leading to headaches, facial pain, and teeth grinding.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
Dentists can usually easily identify signs of teeth grinding, such as:
- Worn or dull teeth, especially chips or flat spots
- Sensitive teeth
- Jaw pain
- Frequent headaches
- Cuts or sores on the inside cheek
How to Stop Teeth Grinding
Most of the advice for treating bruxism begins with suggestions to reduce your stress levels. This may help resolve some cases, however, if that stress stems from problems inside the mouth, it is out of your control and you’ll need other ways to help stop teeth grinding. Frequently, stress reduction and occlusal appliances are combined to combat bruxism.
There are a few different occlusal appliances available to treat tooth grinding. You may already be familiar with mouth guards, which are a type of occlusal appliance worn at night. These custom-fitted appliances are designed to fit over the top or bottom teeth to prevent nighttime teeth grinding.
For more severe cases, your dentist may recommend mandibular advancement devices, which are designed to force the jaw forward when the dentist believes a sleep disorder is causing the problem. These appliances are often referred to as “snore guards” and help align the jaw during sleep to treat sleep apnea or snoring.
Bruxism Treatment in Charlotte, NC
Teeth grinding can damage teeth and cause sensitivity or even pain, so it’s important to seek treatment if you believe you may be grinding your teeth. Dr. Hess’s practice is a full-service dental office that can help you put an end to bruxism and have a healthy smile. Call 704.240.5045 to schedule an examination or request a consultation online.