Do you remember a time when you were stressed during the day and you were clenching or grinding your teeth? This is not an uncommon thing. Some patients experience this only sometimes, while others grind and clench their teeth throughout the night. The cause of nighttime grinding is unknown, but some theories include that it is caused by stress, dehydration, stimulants (such as coffee), medication side effects and may even be due to a bad bite (malocclusion). If you grind or clench your teeth at night, it is important to protect them so that no damage to your teeth or dental work is done. Once the enamel, which is the protective layer of the teeth is gone, teeth are more susceptible to cavities and other problems.
Some ways to address grinding at night include:
Night guards and Sprints
Night guards are mostly worn when you sleep, giving you a barrier between your teeth and making it more challenging to put excess pressure on them. This gives you a buffer to protect your teeth and reduces the wear and tear that grinding can cause. It also helps to teach your muscles surrounding the joint to begin to relax, reducing the urge to grind your teeth.
If the teeth are not aligned correctly, then it creates a perfect environment for teeth grinding, which can lead to more damage. Fixing the alignment of the teeth with orthodontics may help resolve bruxism and the resulting symptoms of jaw pain, tooth pain and chronic headaches.
Muscle relaxants are sometimes used to gain relief from grinding as well.
Daytime grinding is best addressed through behavior modification and stress reduction. Exercise and relaxation techniques work great to reduce your stress levels so that you don’t grind or clench your teeth during the day.
If you think you or your child has a problem with bruxism (grinding of the teeth), come visit us for a consultation at Windermere Orthodontics in Suwanee, Brookhaven or Cumming. We are looking forward to meeting you!