Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can leave lasting negative effects on your dental health. For those that grind their teeth occasionally, there is no major cause for concern. However, if you regularly grind your teeth while you sleep at night, you are setting yourself up for problems. Although you may be reluctant, taking care of this habit sooner rather than later can help you avoid costly dental issues in the future, including complications such as cracked teeth, damaged fillings, headaches, jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, and abscesses that require root canals.
Unfortunately, a large number of people with bruxism are unaware of the problem until negative symptoms begin to appear. The initial warning signs of teeth grinding are:
- Jaw pain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth pain upon waking
Ignoring these symptoms can eventually lead to tooth damage, tooth loss, and gum recession. The restorative procedures required to fix these concerns, such as crowns or veneers, are far more expensive than the cost of treating your bruxism habit now.
How can a dentist treat tooth grinding? You can immediately be fitted with a custom nighttime mouthguard to protect your teeth while you sleep. However, getting to the root cause of your bruxism habit is highly advised.
There are several common causes of teeth grinding, ranging from emotional stress to a bad bite (malocclusion). Your dentist can work with you to help you determine what is triggering you to grind your teeth. Braces or Invisalign may be needed to realign your bite or you may simply need to make efforts to reduce stress in your life.
It can be tempting to just sweep your teeth-grinding problem under the rug if you are not presently experiencing any negative effects. However, your future smile and even your quality of life can be protected by paying attention to it now. If you have been told or you suspect that you are grinding your teeth while you sleep, talk to your dentist now.