Did you know you could be clenching and grinding your teeth without even knowing it. Clenching and grinding often occurs during sleep, though it can take place any time of day.The cause of bruxism is not widely agreed upon but stress and anxiety seem to be the main contributing factors and the condition can worsen under extreme or continual stress.
Clenching your teeth puts pressure on the muscles, tissues, and other structures around your jaw. Some people clench their teeth and never feel symptoms. Others experience a variety of symptoms or impacts including:
- Increased temperature sensitivity
- Facial pain
- Ear or neck aches
- A sore tired jaw
- A popping or clicking noise when you open your mouth
- Damage to the inside of the cheek
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Wearing away of tooth enamel
Our team at Maple Grove Family Dental will examine your teeth and jaw to look for evidence of grinding and help diagnose the condition. Often those who clench and grind flatten the tips of teeth among other warning signs. Through regular visits and check-ups, we can assess whether or not certain signs and symptoms are present and monitor whether or not they change over time.
The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, prevent permanent damage to the teeth, and reduce clenching as much as possible. To relive pain, try one of these self-care tips:
- Apply ice or wet heat to sore jaw muscles
- Avoid eating hard foods like nuts and candies
- Drink plenty of water every day
- Try to get plenty of sleep
- Massage the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and face
- Relax your face and jaw muscles often
- Reduce daily stress through breathing techniques, yoga and regular exercise.
Specific treatment varies by individual and so our dentists will help determine which option is right for you. In most cases, treatment will include a mouth guard to reduce impact and prevent damage. A dental guard may help protect the teeth from the pressure of clenching and help reduce tooth abrasion. Dental guards are usually made of plastic and fit over the upper or lower teeth. They are typically worn during every night’s sleep on a long-term basis.