Reasons Why You May Be Grinding Your Teeth and How to Treat It

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Do you ever pause what you're doing, only to notice your teeth are clenched together? Do you wake up in the morning with a headache, sensitive teeth, or a sore jaw? You might be suffering from bruxism – a condition of gnashing, clenching, or grinding your teeth throughout the day or at night while sleeping. It is one of the bad oral habits for teeth that affects 1 in 10 adults. Individuals can develop signs of bruxism for different reasons, and if left untreated, it can wreak havoc on your dental health. Read on to learn more about teeth grinding symptoms and how our skilled dental experts at LANCO Dental Care in Lancaster, PA can help you manage this condition.

What is bruxism?

Bad oral habits can consist of smoking, indulging in too many sugary treats, not drinking enough water, and grinding your teeth. The cause of bruxism is unique to every person, and the dental experts at LANCO Dental Care screen for signs of jaw clenching during every dental exam. Whether it is genetic, psychological, or physical, it is a condition that can impact your oral health. Sleep-related bruxism can be related to acid reflux, hyperactivity, and certain sleep disorders, like sleep apnea. Daytime bruxism is often triggered by anxiety and stress, especially for individuals in law enforcement, healthcare fields, and the military.

What are typical jaw clenching symptoms?

At LANCO Dental Care, our doctors check for signs of bruxism during routine dental exams. The act of clenching or grinding is a problem that affects women, men, and even children. Certain factors, such as stress, anxiety, certain sleep disorders, or crooked teeth can cause individuals to grind their teeth. One of the most noticeable signs of bruxism is the deterioration of tooth enamel; however, other indicators are:

  • Stiffness or pain in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint)
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Gum recession
  • Tension in the shoulder, neck, or jaw area
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Broken fillings or teeth

What are teeth grinding treatment options?

Sleep-related bruxism occurs when the airway closes, triggering the body to produce more saliva and mimic a chewing motion to allow the airway to reopen. Grinding or shifting the upper and lower jawline back and forth is the body's natural way to protect itself from the effects of sleep disorders, like sleep apnea or chronic snoring. To protect your mouth and overall health from the impact of teeth grinding while you sleep, our dental experts at LANCO Dental Care recommend a custom mouth guard appliance. Made of high-quality materials, they can alleviate discomfort and dental issues caused by bruxism. Other treatment options are:

  • Try relaxation techniques, like meditation or seeing a therapist
  • Practice proper jaw and mouth positioning throughout the day
  • Consider medication for stress or anxiety levels
  • BOTOX® injections to relax the jaw muscles
  • Address any sleep-related disorders, such as sleep apnea, to improve sleep bruxism
  • Acid reflux treatment

Are you looking for a dentist in Lancaster, PA?

Clenching or grinding your teeth can lead to damage and discomfort, affecting your oral health in different ways. A custom-made night mouth guard can be an effective way to protect your teeth, get better rest, and reduce jaw clenching symptoms. If you need a custom night guard appliance or are interested in learning more about bruxism, contact our caring team at LANCO Dental Care in Lancaster, PA.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.