Some of the most common dental health problems, like cavities and gum disease, come with symptoms and signs that are commonly attributed to them. For example, bleeding gums are almost always a sign of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Sensitive teeth are often sensitive because of weakened tooth enamel, which can quickly lead to cavity development. However, some conditions have such a wide range of symptoms that you might not realize what they mean at first. If you have bruxism, for instance, you might notice things like your teeth grinding together at some points of the day, as well as chronic headaches and completely different times. Both are common signs of bruxism, and today, we examine how you might be able to tell if they mean you have a teeth-grinding problem.
What does having bruxism mean?
Grinding your teeth together a lot is the characteristic symptom of bruxism. However, just grinding your teeth doesn’t mean you have the condition. Having bruxism means you have an underlying condition that causes you to frequently clench and grind your teeth together. You do it subconsciously, so not only will you fail to realize it most of the time, but you’ll also be unable to soften the pressure of your bite. This means several times throughout the day, and probably most of the night, you grind your teeth together with the full force of your bite.
When it becomes problematic
That force is immense, and bruxism becomes problematic fairly quickly when you leave it untreated. Your teeth can start to wear down and the symptoms of your condition can become much more obvious, including:
- Sensitive, painful teeth – Your teeth will start to hurt pretty soon after being forced to grind against each other so forcefully all day and night. At their chewing surfaces, especially, the enamel can wear down and leave the tooth structure exposed to irritants, like hot and cold foods, and oral bacteria. Until you treat your bruxism, the damage and sensitivity will keep getting worse.
- A change in your bite – Once tooth sensitivity becomes noticeable, it’s hard to ignore, but the more serious your tooth damage becomes, the more it will affect more than just comfort. As their chewing surfaces wear down, your teeth won’t be able to close onto each other as evenly as they used to. This misalignment can lead to a wide range of problems, including a dysfunction in your jaw joints and muscles.
- Chronic headaches and migraines – Your teeth and oral structures are intricately connected, and the force generated by bruxism can affect a lot of different areas surrounding them. For example, the dominant nerves in your head are close to your jaw, and the overactivity of bruxism can lead to increasingly worse headaches and migraines, especially in the mornings.
Learn how to treat bruxism
You might not know you have bruxism at first, but once the symptoms start to become obvious, you should seek treatment for it as soon as possible. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Yelena Popkova D.D.S. in Merrimack, NH, today at 603-595-9400. We also serve the residents of Nashua, Hudson, Manchester, Milford, and all surrounding communities.