Grinding or clenching your teeth – a condition known as bruxism – can put a lot of strain on your muscles around your jaw and face. Often times, patients will complain of a “tired” feeling in their jaw without realizing they’ve been putting additional strain on their muscles. This can happen for two reasons; teeth grinding or clenching is usually done subconsciously and bruxism often occurs while you’re asleep. Just another reason to visit your dentist as often as they recommend, though, as they can usually determine if you have bruxism just by looking at your teeth. Once they’ve diagnosed the problem, it’s time to talk about how to stop grinding your teeth.
What Causes Bruxism?
There are a multitude of reasons why you may be grinding your teeth from emotional factors to other medical conditions.
- Stress or Anxiety
- Anger or Frustration
- Malocclusion (Misaligned Bite)
- Sleep Apnea
- Acid Reflux
Sometimes, children can get into the habit of grinding their teeth. Usually, this will dissipate on its own without needing treatment. If it does persist, however, your child should visit their dentist to discuss treatment options, especially in severe cases.
In most cases, treatments aren’t necessary because the condition can go away on its own. However, prolonged pressure on your teeth can lead to more severe issues like chipped or broken teeth. So if you’re experiencing severe bruxism, your dentist may recommend a few treatment options.
Therapies – For emotional factors like stress, anxiety, or anger, you may benefit from relief therapies. Typically this involved learning relaxation technique like meditation or even exercise, to help your body let go of the emotional tension.
Medications – In some cases, your dentist may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime to see if it helps improve your muscle relaxation through the night.
Oral Appliances – Different oral appliances like splints or mouthguards have proven to be very effective in managing teeth grinding or clenching. They simply cover your upper and lower teeth and keep them separate throughout your sleep cycle.