No matter how great your oral hygiene routine is, you might be harming your teeth overnight or in other situations without even realizing you are doing it. Many people experience teeth grinding and jaw clenching while they sleep or in stressful situations.
Over time, these actions can cause damage to your teeth and gums and cause permanent damage if they are not addressed. This blog will help you identify if you suffer from teeth grinding or jaw clenching, learn more about what triggers it, and provide some short-term and long-term treatment options.
1. Causes and Symptoms
The most common reasons for teeth grinding and jaw clenching are stress and anxiety. This can occur during the day or while you are sleeping. Even if you are wide awake, you might not even realize that you are doing it.
Other risk factors for teeth grinding and clenching include substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, caffeine), sleep apnoea, and bite and alignment issues.
One way to know if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw is waking up with a sore mouth or a tight jaw. You might also notice that your teeth begin to wear down in odd patterns over time. These changes might not be obvious at first since many people grind their molars and back teeth that are not always very visible.
Long-term jaw clenching can lead to earaches and headaches. You might think that you have an ear infection or a migraine, but the cause is actually the jaw because of how closely it’s related to the other parts of your face.
2. Diagnosis and Treatment
The best way to confirm whether or not you grind your teeth or clench your jaw is to mention your symptoms to your dentist at your next appointment. Your dentist can review the wear patterns on your teeth and examine your jaw to determine whether you’ve been grinding or clenching without realizing it.
From there, your dentist will likely prescribe a mouth guard, which will prevent your teeth from touching while you sleep and give you something to bite into if you clench your jaw. It won’t take long before you are waking up pain-free and more refreshed as a result of better sleep.
The mouth guard will probably take some getting used to, but it’s important that you stick with it and continue wearing it. Your mouth will adjust over time.
While this approach will treat the symptoms, it is not a cure for the underlying issues that are causing it in the first place.
To address those deeper issues, your dentist may recommend a visit to a specialist, who will be able to further examine the causes and may be able to provide you with a more permanent solution.
3. How to Get the Help You Need
If you’ve been waking up with an unusual feeling in your mouth or jaw, you might be teeth grinding or jaw clenching.
Our team at Valley Dental Practice is well versed in the symptoms and warning signs and can help you determine if you’ve been grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw while you sleep. We’ll work with you to develop a customized treatment plan based on your specific symptoms and lifestyle. For more information or to book an appointment, do not hesitate to call Valley Dental Practice on 01255 220322.