5 Ways to Stop Clenching & Grinding Your Teeth
Clenching and grinding your teeth (bruxism) at night can not only result in jaw pain and damaged teeth but could be indicative of other problems that only a Weston dentist trained in TMJ can identify. If you are constantly waking up with a sore jaw or what you believe to be an ear ache you should call our office and arrange for an evaluation.
Clenching and grinding teeth during the day is often caused by psychological reasons. For example grinding or clenching teeth is a common coping mechanism among children to help tem focus on a problem. However, grinding teeth at night may be caused by a medical problem including obstructive sleep apnea, acid reflux, abnormal alignment of upper or lower teeth and needs to be evaluated and treated by a trained dentist or sleep disorder specialist.
When to Visit a Dentist or Sleep Disorder Specialist
Often times people will grind or clench their teeth without even being aware that they are doing it. Grinding takes some time before there will be physical evidence of a problem so it may not be picked up in a regular dental exam unless you mention soreness in your jaw or other symptoms.
However, you know it’s time to visit the dentist when:
- Your teeth are worn, damaged or sensitive
- You have pain in your jaw, face or ear
- Others complain that you make a grinding noise while you sleep
- You have a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely
- You have frequent dull headaches that seem to be originating from your temples
- You detect damage to the tissue inside your mouth from biting
At your dental visit the dentist will do an exam but also ask numerous questions regarding stress issues in your life and medications you currently use. Once a diagnosis has been made there are multiple treatments including these 5:
- Mouth guard that is worn at night that prevents contact between upper and lower teeth
- Dental correction which may include reshaping chewing surfaces by use of crowns
- Referral to stress management
- Referral to a biofeedback programs
- Referral to a sleep disorder specialist who may prescribe muscle relaxants
Clenching and grinding is more than an annoying habit. Aside from the facial pain involved, over time it can cause serious damage to the way you chew. If you believe it’s time to have an evaluation, call us today and arrange an appointment!