Do you often wake up with a sore, tired jaw? Maybe the sides of your face feel tired or tingly. You may even have a headache! Do you feel these sensations after a long day at work? You may be unconsciously grinding your teeth. This habitual practice is called bruxism, and it is bad news for your teeth and jaw.
Many patients have no idea that they grind their teeth, but we can see the evidence all over your molars! Your teeth will be worn down and damaged from the constant contact and pressure. If you still aren’t convinced, ask your sleeping partner or those who work near you. They can probably tell you if you grind your teeth because they’ve heard you doing it!
The Trouble with Bruxism
It might not seem like a big deal: grinding your teeth. But it absolutely can lead to serious trouble for the rest of your mouth! As we mentioned, your teeth will be damaged to a concerning level. Bruxism can also lead to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction or injury. This simply means that the pressure and tension from grinding your teeth will eventually cause the jaw joint to become damaged.
Causes of Bruxism
There are a few causes of bruxism that you should consider. It will help us find the best solution for your uncomfortable habit, and it will also help you make the best decision for your mouth. You might grind your teeth due to one of the following reasons:
- Misaligned Teeth: If this is the case, you may need orthodontic care to realign your teeth and ease the tension between your upper and lower jaws.
- Broken/Uneven Tooth: If your teeth cannot fit comfortably together, you may need tooth contouring or a dental crown to even out your bite.
- Stress: If you hold tension in your jaw, you will grind or clench your teeth every time you feel stress. You may need to learn relaxation techniques.
- Habit: Bruxism can just happen out of habit. Learn to pay attention to what you are doing with your teeth through relaxation techniques.
It is very important that you stop your habit of grinding or clenching your teeth. Without treatment, you may eventually begin to lose your teeth due to this condition. If you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth throughout your day, teach yourself to hold your jaw relaxed by sliding your tongue between your teeth. This will force your jaw into a relaxed position and ease the tension on your TMJ.
If you find that you are grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep, we recommend a nighttime mouthguard. This guard is made of thick, durable plastic so that even when you push your teeth together, they cannot cause harm. A night guard will also give your TMJ a break, which could help to end any headaches or pain you might be experiencing.
Learn more about bruxism and how it affects your entire jaw when you call our office today at (503) 305-5051. You can also contact us using our online form. During your first appointment, bring up your suspicions. It shouldn’t take too long for us to figure out if bruxism is a problem or not. We can’t wait to see you and help you have a much more comfortable jaw!