When people get stressed, they often say that they are “clenching” their jaw. But did you ever think about what it means to actually do this? What effects it might have on your overall health?
Bruxism is a condition that usually involves people grinding their teeth and clenching their jaws. While most St. Louis area residents do this at some point in their daily lives, when it becomes a regular habit it can cause significant damage to your teeth, mouth and jaw. The problem is that most people don’t realize they are grinding their teeth at all, let alone how often they are doing it.
How to Know If You Grind Your Teeth
Often, it is your sleeping partner who first notices that you grind your teeth when they wake up to the sound or movement. When your loved one brings this to your attention multiple times, it is probably something you should begin to discuss with Dr. Postol.
If no one has pointed out any grinding to you before, there are still other ways to tell. Symptoms of bruxism include:
• Worn down, flattened, fractured or chipped teeth
• Increased tooth sensitivity
• Jaw pain, tightness, or tiredness
• Damage from chewing the insides of your cheeks
• Indentations on your tongue
Why You Grind Your Teeth
Teeth grinding is usually brought about by stress and anxiety in a person’s life. It can be exacerbated by an abnormal bite, including missing, crooked or improperly aligned teeth.
People who have recently gotten dental work that realigned their teeth, including orthodontic work or many cosmetic dental procedures, may see an increase in bruxism symptoms. Grinding can also be a complication from diseases such as Huntington’s or Parkinson’s, or rarely from some medications, including antidepressants.
The Problems with Grinding
While for most people, bruxism does not interfere with their daily life, it can lead to serious problems, including jaw disorders, headaches, TMD/ TMJ, or even hearing loss. Grinding can damage many dental pieces, including bridges, crowns, implants and dentures.
Help For Teeth Grinding
Dr. Postol can help you figure out the best way to deal with your bruxism symptoms, and one simple way may be to reduce the stress in your life. This can be accomplished through a variety of means, including counseling, exercise, meditation, or other relaxation techniques. Other treatments may include physical therapy, muscle relaxers, or mouth guards.
Dr. Postol can help properly fit you with a mouth guard that is right for you, and will make changes as necessary to accommodate changes in your mouth. Be wary of bruxism guards from anywhere but your trusted St. Louis area dentist, which can actually make your grinding worse and cause more wear on your teeth.