Teeth Grinding: What It Is and How to Stop It

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition that can occur at any age. Adults may unconsciously clench or grind their teeth when awake or asleep, and 10% of all adults have been diagnosed with bruxism. Children are also prone to bruxism; according to the Nemours Foundation, which is dedicated to children’s health issues, it is estimated that two or three out of ten children grind their teeth.

Teeth grinding is generally the result of stress and anxiety, and is often paired with a clenched jaw. Those with an abnormal bite or missing and crooked teeth can be more prone to bruxism than others. In addition, bruxism is often associated with alcohol and tobacco use. In the November 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, it was suggested that smokers and alcohol users are twice as likely to grind their teeth than those who do not use alcohol or tobacco.

Know the Symptoms

For children, indicators of bruxism may include:

  • Allergies
  • Misaligned Teeth
  • Mouth Irritation
  • Stress
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Nervous Tension
  • Discomfort while Eating

For adults, indicators of bruxism may include:

  • Stress
  • Headaches
  • Tooth Pain
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Jaw Soreness
  • Muscle Soreness
  • Lockjaw
  • Loose Teeth
  • Fractured Teeth

Bruxism is linked to increased structural problems in teeth as well as certain bite disorders. Those with bruxism are prone to breaking or wearing down their teeth with the increased pressure that teeth grinding and jaw clenching puts on teeth. However, further damage to teeth from excessive grinding is preventable with early intervention as well as the correct oral appliance or mouth guard to prevent further damage and deterioration.

Early Intervention

Many people may not realize they are grinding their teeth because bruxism often occurs unconsciously. That is why it is key to visit the dentist and get treatment earlier rather than later. The health consequences of untreated bruxism are short and long-term. Irritated nerves and facial pain may be short-term, but weakened tooth enamel occurs over time with increased tension. Tooth quality may deteriorate because of the repeated wearing down of teeth caused by bruxism.

Clenching or grinding teeth increases pressure on teeth as well, and its pressure is 40 times stronger than the pressure exerted from normal chewing. During sleep, the pressure of teeth grinding is not alleviated, so those who have problems with night bruxism may have weakened gums and teeth while being unaware of the problem. If left untreated, bruxism can cause severe damage to teeth, jaw muscles, and joints.

A Solution to Bruxism

Dr. Jose Gil provides patients that suffer from bruxism with a night guard that is worn during sleep. The mouth guards are comfortable and conform to the teeth unique to each patient. These devices take pressure off of the jaw while allowing teeth to properly align. With proper care, teeth are given time to heal, and advanced deterioration is interrupted at the source.

Schedule an Appointment

If you have noticed symptoms of teeth grinding and a clenched jaw, or if you have a loved one with these symptoms, don’t wait. Contact Hamilton Dental Designs today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jose Gil and his team.