People who grind their teeth may not even realize that they are doing it because teeth grinding and jaw clenching is a common reaction to stress. Most people grind their teeth from time to time, even in their sleep, and is also caused by sleep disorders or an abnormal bite. If you wake up suffering from dull headaches or a sore jaw, more than likely you are grinding your teeth in your sleep.
Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?
Grinding your teeth is harmful, especially for those with a chronic problem. Grinding your teeth can cause teeth to break or fracture, and wear them down. When your teeth are damaged from grinding, your Indianapolis, IN dentist can repair the tooth, however the process can be extensive and expensive including having to place bridges and crowns, perform root canals, or even the need for implants or dentures after tooth removal for severe cases.
How Can I Stop Grinding My Teeth?
The best way to combat teeth grinding is to prevent it from happening. Don't wait to see a dentist if you suspect that you are grinding your teeth. Dentists can fit you with a mouth guard or oral splint to minimize or stop the grinding at night. Stress reduction techniques, counseling, and exercise can help people cope with their everyday stressors so that they can get out of the habit of grinding and clenching their teeth and jaw. For some people, muscle relaxants and anti-anxiety medications can help to combat the causes of teeth grinding if it is related to emotional strain.
Some people who suffer from sleep disorders will need additional remedies to combat their teeth grinding and should consider consulting with a sleep specialist in conjunction with their dentist. Teeth grinding can intensify after consuming alcohol and caffeine so it is best to avoid these products. You can also use warm compresses to relax your jaw muscles before going to sleep, and avoid chewing gum or on nonfood items because this trains your jaw to clench more often.
Children frequently grind their teeth in their sleep although the cause is not determined completely. To help your child to not grind their teeth you can use physical therapy techniques such as massage to relax your child's jaw at night before bed and make sure they are drinking plenty of water as dehydration is also linked to teeth grinding. Luckily, teeth grinding rarely causes issues with baby teeth, but you should always have your dentist monitor the teeth to determine future treatment methods as well.