Teeth Grinding: How to Identify Symptoms and Find Relief

Teeth Grinding: How to Identify Symptoms and Find Relief

What Is Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a surprisingly common dental issue characterized by clenching and grinding of the teeth. It's estimated that around 9% of adults grind their teeth regularly in their sleep, and the problem often goes undiagnosed. There are several causes of teeth grinding, from stress and anxiety to poor alignment of the teeth; it may also be caused by more serious problems, like sleep apnea.

Some of the consequences of teeth grinding and clenching include headaches, jaw pain, and worn-down shortened teeth. If left untreated, persistent grinding can lead to various oral health issues such as chips and fractures of the teeth, receding gums, tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

If you think you might be grinding your teeth, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Listed below are the causes and symptoms of teeth grinding, as well as the various treatment options available.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Bruxism has various causes, separated into two types: primary and secondary.

Primary bruxism is the more common type and has no known cause. It usually starts in childhood and continues throughout adulthood.

Secondary bruxism is caused by an underlying problem, such as stress, anxiety, or a health condition. It usually starts after primary bruxism has been present for a while.

Some of the most common causes of teeth grinding include:

  • stress and anxiety
  • misaligned teeth or jaw problems
  • sleep apnea
  • taking certain medicines, including a group of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • smoking, drinking lots of alcohol and caffeine, and using substances like ecstasy and cocaine

Treatments for Teeth grinding.

There are several treatments available for teeth grinding. One popular treatment is a bite guard, a custom-made dental appliance that fits over your teeth and helps protect them from grinding against each other. A bite guard typically needs to be replaced every few years.

Dental surgery may be recommended if the grinding is causing serious damage to your teeth. Surgery can involve the removal of part of your jawbone or inserting dental implants to help stabilize your bite.

For those experiencing temporomandibular joint pain, muscle pain, regular headaches, or migraines due to teeth grinding, the use of Botox injections may help to relieve some discomfort. Botulinum toxin, commonly known as Botox, is an injectable solution that reduces joint and muscle tension. Cypress Dental offers Botox injections for those with more severe cases of bruxism or as an adjunctive treatment to the night guard.

If you're looking for more conservative treatment, a few behavioral therapies can also help reduce teeth grinding. These therapies involve learning how to relax and control your jaw muscles and typically require regular sessions with a therapist.

Prevention of Teeth Grinding

One of the best ways to prevent your teeth from grinding is to wear a bite guard while sleeping; this appliance is also known as a night guard. Night guards are commonly recommended by the dentists at Cypress Dental as they are relatively inexpensive and can provide great benefit. Night guards work by absorbing the grinding force of your teeth which further prevents damage to your teeth and jaw.

At Cypress Dental, the process of fabricating a night guard is done in two appointments. At the first appointment, we take a 3D digital scan of your teeth which is then used to make a custom-made night guard in a dental lab. At the second appointment, we have you try your night guard on to ensure that it fits comfortably over your teeth.

If you think you might be grinding your teeth or are experiencing symptoms of teeth grinding, it's important to see a dentist to find out what's causing the problem and get help to stop the grinding. Contact us today at Cypress Dental and say goodbye to teeth grinding!