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Grinding Teeth? Here’s What You Should Know

Aileen Sideris Oral Health

Teeth grinding is a common problem that people have regarding their dental health. You can grind your teeth for a variety of reasons. No matter what the reason is, you are damaging your teeth in the process. If you think that you grind your teeth, here is what you should know about it.


What is Bruxism?


The scientific name for grinding teeth is bruxism. Bruxism exists in two forms.  The one which you are awake is called awake bruxism, and another form where you grind your teeth when you are asleep is called sleep bruxism. It is possible to have either one or both forms of bruxism without knowing it. Either way, you are slowly reshaping your teeth and causes cracks in the surface of your teeth. This opens them up to a variety of problems including pain, inflammation, lost enamel, infections and chipping.


Causes of Teeth Grinding


It is unclear what the exact cause of bruxism is. However, it is strongly correlated with stress and anxiety. The more physical and/or emotional stress sets in, the more likely you are to grind your teeth. In the short-term, it can be annoying. Long-term bruxism risks serious damage to your teeth. If your dentist finds evidence of teeth grinding, look for ways to quickly reduce your daily stress.


It Happens During Sleep


It is entirely possible to grind your teeth in your sleep without knowing it. When we are asleep, there are still a lot of small movements and thought going on. If your dreams are stressful, it can cause you to grind your teeth. Most people only learn that they experience bruxism when they sleep when they wake up with tooth pain or go to the dentist.


Kids and Adults


Bruxism affects kids as well as adults. There are no age-related limitations for bruxism. It is noted that children that have bruxism often continue it into adulthood without a form of intervention. So, it is important to have kids’ teeth checked regularly to avoid long-term damage.


Signs of Teeth Grinding


The signs of teeth grinding may be hard to see. In extreme cases, chipped teeth are an obvious sign, especially if there isn’t an incident or an accident that could have caused the damage. Another similar sign is finding cracks in your teeth. This is unlikely without a visit to the dentist because these cracks would be difficult to see without magnification equipment. Your dentist can do a more thorough examination that can reveal flattened surfaces on your teeth. He or she can also look for areas with less enamel and matching damaged areas on top and bottom teeth. If you think that you grind your teeth, it is important to have them checked by a dentist.

How to Stop Teeth Grinding

The easiest and most natural way to stop teeth grinding is to reduce your stress. Once your stress drops, there is a good chance that you will stop grinding your teeth. You can also get a custom-fit mouthguard from your dentist. This will protect your teeth while you try to address other factors.

Ready to Get Started?

Dealing with bruxism only gets better with skilled help from a dentist. Give us a call at 301-933-3903 or email us at info@susanhodds.com to schedule an exam and consultation to find out what can be done to protect your teeth from chipping and cracking!