Are you unconsciously grinding your teeth at night?
Think you might be causing irreversible damage to your teeth? Bruxism, or excessive teeth clenching and grinding causes permanent damage to the teeth. Millions of adults are affected by this condition due to frustration, fear and stress. Because it happens unconsciously while you sleep, people can remain unaware of the problem for months or years before they notice the effects on their smile. Not only can severe teeth grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, but common side effects include jaw pain, neck pain, headaches or ear pain. Your dentist can help you determine if you are unconsciously Bruxing.
What Causes Bruxism
The causes of bruxism are still being researched however this is some agreement among medical providers that stress can be a major trigger of both nighttime and daytime teeth grinding.
Treatments for Bruxism
For some people, just relaxing and modifying daytime behavior is enough to reduce nighttime bruxism. Methods to directly modify nighttime clenching are still being studied. They include biofeedback devices, self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques. Other people require more immediate treatment in the form of night guards or appliances.
Stress is believed to be the leading cause of bruxism. Although not true of all cases, reducing stress has been known to cure people of their nighttime teeth grinding. What can you do to eliminate stress triggers from your life? Remember that minimizing your stress requires that you get plenty of sleep too.
When teeth grinding carries on for months or years it can become an unconscious habit instead of just a nighttime response to stress. In order to break the habit, you'll want to remind yourself throughout the day to relax your jaw. People who employ relaxation techniques like trigger point therapy, massaging the facial muscles and avoid stimulants (like caffeine) have also met with good success. Make relaxation a habit.
Night Guards & Splints
Night guards prevent your upper and lower teeth from contacting. Splints are designed to keep your jaw in a more relaxed position or provide some other corrective function. If one type doesn't work for your situation, another may. There are many different types of guards and splints with some fitting over the top teeth, some fitting over the bottom.
Ask your dentist to review your case.