Teeth Grinding: More than just a bad habit, it’s a dental concern

Some patients may think that grinding their teeth, a condition known as bruxism, is merely an annoyance, but it can actually have negative effects on your oral health. For example, this excess wear and tear can compromise the integrity of the patient’s teeth, potentially making them more susceptible to breakage and interfering with their ability to chew food properly.

Unfortunately, many patients may not even be aware that they are grinding their teeth if it’s happening subconsciously or while they are asleep. A sleeping partner may tip the patient off to the condition, or the patient may notice tension in the jaw muscles or start suffering from morning headaches.

Most patients may not even need to see an oral surgeon or even another type of dental specialist to address bruxism, although a surgeon can educate the patient on treatment options. The condition often responds to non-invasive interventions.

If you have evidence that you are grinding your teeth, a dentist can design a custom-crafted mouthguard for you to wear at night. The mouthguard will prevent the teeth from touching and therefore eliminate the grinding of the teeth.

Stress management techniques can also help to reduce bruxism, which can develop as a result of excessive stress.  For example, relaxation strategies or meditation may improve a patient’s bruxism. Counseling can be helpful, as well.

Patients with very severe cases of bruxism that don’t respond to more conservative measures may need to consult with an oral surgeon to see if a jaw malformation is contributing to the problem. If so, jaw surgery may be indicated to reposition the jaw or help to improve the alignment of the teeth to eliminate the teeth grinding.

If you believe that you are grinding teeth, don’t just dismiss the problem. Doing so may impact your oral health in a negative way. See your dentist to learn about effective treatments, and call our office to discuss surgical options if more conservative measures are not giving you relief from your symptoms.

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