Do you often find yourself clenching and grinding your teeth in stressful situations? Do you wake up with jaw pain or a headache?
Teeth clenching and grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition that can occur at any age. This dental concern may be the result of stress and anxiety, paired with a clenched jaw. Patients with a crooked or misaligned bite are more prone to this condition. Dr. Glen Wainwright treats teeth grinding in Austin, Texas at Austin Dental Care. Treatment can help prevent further damage to your teeth. But first, what other symptoms accompany bruxism?
Common Signs of Bruxism
Signs of bruxism may include:
- Tooth pain
- Facial pain
- Jaw soreness
- Teeth clenching
- Worn teeth
- Muscle tenderness
- Loose teeth
- Fractured teeth
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, call Austin Dental Care at 512-518-6392. You could be developing bruxism. Patients may need multiple treatments for bruxism, depending on the severity of damage to teeth. Tooth enamel can become weaker over time with increased tension.
Clenching or grinding teeth increases pressure on teeth as well, and its pressure is 40 times stronger than the pressure exerted from normal chewing. When left untreated, bruxism can cause severe damage to the teeth, jaw muscles, and joints.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
There are a lot of potential causes for teeth grinding or bruxism, and stress is often one of them. In fact, dentists estimate that up to 90% of people who grind their teeth do so because of stress. If you’re concerned that stress is the cause of your teeth grinding, there are a few things you can do to try to mitigate it. First, try to identify what’s causing your stress and address it head-on. Secondly, make sure you are taking care of yourself mentally and physically. For example, get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise.
Treating Teeth Clenching and Grinding
Teeth clenching and grinding are very common sleep-related behaviors. These habits can lead to a number of problems, such as tooth wear, jaw pain, headaches and even earaches. Dr. Wainwright offers oral appliances as a treatment option for bruxism. The most common treatment for teeth grinding is wearing a mouth guard at night. These guards protect the teeth from damage and grinding together while you sleep. Oral appliances can fit over your upper or lower teeth and take the pressure off of the jaw.
Treatment can also include behavioral therapy. This may help the patient learn different ways to relax or reduce stress that may help them sleep better at night.
Patients who have broken or damaged teeth from severe teeth clenching and grinding can benefit from receiving a dental crown. This restorative treatment also protects tooth enamel from further wear and tear by covering it like a cap. Dental crowns are also custom-made to blend in with your natural teeth.
Teeth Grinding FAQs
What damage can grinding teeth cause?
Grinding teeth regularly can cause damage to the surface enamel of teeth. Damaged enamel does not grow back. Teeth grinding can also lead to chips and cracks in teeth, worn-down teeth, and tooth decay. Too much damage can expose dentin and make your teeth sensitive to hot and cold foods.
Is stress making me grind my teeth?
Stress is one of the leading causes of teeth grinding. When you’re feeling stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can cause your jaw muscles to tense up and your teeth to grind together.
Other causes of teeth grinding include anxiety, sleep disorders, and certain medications. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of bruxism, such as jaw pain, headaches, or a clicking sound when you open your mouth, it’s important to see our dentist. We can help you determine the cause of your grinding.
How does teeth grinding change your face?
Teeth grinding can change the shape of your face. Many people who do not treat their teeth grinding find that their face may become wider, or they may develop facial sagging. This is from excessive use of facial muscles to grind teeth, and damage done to bone structure from grinding.
Does Botox stop teeth grinding?
Botox is a great treatment for this dental disorder because it relaxes the muscles. Botox treatment blocks some of the signals sent between muscles to contract, which may prevent a patient from grinding their teeth. A doctor administers Botox by injection into the gum on either side of the jawline in order to stop teeth grinding. However, you may need routine treatments and the results can be temporary.
What happens if you grind your teeth for too long?
Patients who grind their teeth for extended periods are more likely to experience tooth pain, fracture, headaches, and TMJ. TMJ is a muscular problem in your jaw that causes it to make a clicking noise, and may inhibit jaw mobility. It is important to protect against teeth grinding so that that does not impact other areas of your oral health.
Can you train yourself to stop grinding teeth?
Some patients have successfully trained themselves to stop grinding their teeth. For example, you can put your tongue between your teeth when you notice yourself grinding them. This will relax your jaw muscles, and will temporarily protect your teeth.
Schedule a Dental Exam with our Dentist at Austin Dental Care
Dr. Wainwright is a dentist in Austin, Texas that ensures that his patients get high-quality dental care in a relaxing environment. Call his office for treatment at 512-518-6392. You may also request a consultation with Dr. Wainwright on our website.