As you become older, you begin to realize that stress is just a part of life. We must learn to cope with it, not ignore it. When you don’t face your stress in life, your body may take on the burden, causing bad habits like teeth grinding.
Chronic teeth grinding can cause a plethora of dental issues, but thankfully your dentist in Manassas can help you treat it in a few different ways.
Understanding Chronic Teeth Grinding
If you occasionally find yourself clenching your teeth, that’s okay. It’s one of the many ways our body responds to a stressful situation.
You need to become concerned when your clench, grind and put unnecessary pressure on your teeth over and over again.
Problems can begin when teeth clenching and grinding happen without your control. This condition is called bruxism. The motion and pressure of teeth against themselves can begin to take a toll on your smile, as well as the muscles in your face and your temporomandibular joints.
Signs and symptoms of bruxism include:
- Unusually wear and tear of teeth.
- Pain or weakness of facial muscles.
- Chronic headaches.
- Symptoms of an earache without the infection.
- Jaw, head, and neck pain.
- Disrupted sleeping patterns.
Bruxism Related to TMJ Disorder
Bruxism and TMJ disorder are closely related conditions, but they are not at all the same. Bruxism can be caused by misalignment of your TMJ—the same joint involved in TMJ disorder. Conversely, TMJ can be affected by chronic teeth grinding.
In addition to the symptoms listed above, people with TMJ may experience difficulty opening and closing their mouths, lockjaw, and clicking or popping sounds when the jaw is moved. You might even notice the sides of your face swell and become inflamed from these conditions.
Thankfully, Teeth Grinding is Treatable
Your dentist is here to help you relieve the painful, inconvenient symptoms of chronic teeth grinding.
Your dentist will carefully examine your teeth, jaw and muscle movement to determine if bruxism is the true cause of your discomfort. If so, then your dentist will prescribe a custom fitted oral appliance called a mouthguard or nightguard. You simply wear this nightly while you sleep. This comfortable plastic appliance prevents your upper and lower teeth from touching and ultimately saves your smile from damage.
Your dentist may also be able to recommend an orthodontic treatment to treat your cause for teeth grinding if applicable.
Finally, your expert dentist may also recommend facial massage, hot or cold compresses, a soft food diet or more sleep to combat bruxism and reduce stress.
Meet Your Dentists
Here at Galleria Dental Arts, we work to relieve patient’s dental pain—no matter the cause. Our resourceful office has the tools and expertise to diagnose and treat conditions such as chronic teeth grinding and even TMJ disorder. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, feel free to contact our office for assistance.