If you regularly wake up with an aching jaw or headaches it could be that you are grinding and clenching your teeth. Bruxism is the medical term for clenching, gnashing, or grinding teeth. The condition can happen when you are awake, but it mostly happens at night when sleeping.
Most people who have bruxism at night do not know about it. Mostly, it’s their sleep partner who discloses the symptoms. Also, your dentist will likely notice the symptoms during your routine dental examination.
While mild bruxism may not cause serious complications, severe and frequent grinding can cause serious and permanent damage. Therefore, finding treatment for bruxism is highly recommended.
Common problems or symptoms of teeth grinding to watch for include:
See your dentist right away if you have one or more of these symptoms. The dentist will try to determine the underlying cause and address it accordingly. The dentist will provide treatment to prevent or lessen the effects of teeth grinding if they can!t diagnose the cause.
Usually, lifestyle changes and dental devices are the most common treatment for bruxism. For instance, your dentist can create a customized nightguard to wear at night when sleeping. While the night guard doesn’t treat bruxism, it prevents your teeth from grinding against each other. It significantly protects the integrity of your teeth, jawbone, and oral health.
Generally, the primary cause of bruxism can be hard to diagnose. However, bruxism can result from various factors, which can be psychological, physical, or genetic. These can include:
Contact our dentist in Merrimack, NH, for professional diagnosis and treatment if you think you might have bruxism.
If you don!t address bruxism on time, it can lead to more severe symptoms. Therefore, it’s always good to seek dental treatment as soon as the symptoms appear. Some of the potential long-term effects of bruxism include:
Frequent teeth grinding episodes usually lead to dental damages such as chips, fractures, breaks, worn-out enamel, or flattened teeth. These issues can lead to secondary complications such as tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, or even tooth loss. It can cause the need for more invasive and expensive procedures such as dental crowns, root canal therapy, and dental implants.
If left untreated, teeth grinding and clenching can lead to damaged or ill-fitting dental restorations. For instance, it can cause cracks or chips on dental crowns, dentures, and bridges, lessening their effectiveness and lifespan.
Usually, the temporomandibular joints rest on either side of the face and allow your jaws to move freely. Serious teeth grinding can cause extreme pressure on your temporomandibular joints, leading to inflammation and pain. Other symptoms include face pain, chewing and speaking pain, headaches, and clicking noises when closing or opening your mouth.
Teeth grinding is harmful to your teeth and jawbone, and it can also cause affect your gums. Frequent bruxism can put extreme pressure on the teeth and roots, leading to gum inflammation. Over time, this can lead to gum disease and gum recession, eventually causing loose teeth and tooth loss.
Apart from affecting your oral functions, such as chewing and speaking, teeth grinding can also affect your aesthetics. Dental damage, tooth loss, gum diseases, and jawbone issues can affect your facial muscles, leading to facial sagging, premature aging, and wrinkles.