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Grinding Your Teeth: What, Why & How to Stop

patient talking to dentist about teeth grindingWe’ve all set clenched our teeth or set our jaw a time or two. When teeth grinding happens on a more regular basis, it’s time to get some questions answered before your teeth are seriously damaged.

What is teeth grinding?

Teeth grinding, called bruxism by medical pros, occurs when a person clenches their jaw and grinds their teeth. Often, a person with bruxism may not even know it, such as when it happens at night. Common symptoms are a dull headache or soreness in the jaw. If the teeth grinding occurs when sleeping, another person in the room may hear the grinding.

How can I find out if I am grinding my teeth?

Schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist can examine your teeth and jaw and look for signs that your teeth are grinding and jaw are clenching.

Why do I grind my teeth?

There are many reasons that people grind their teeth, such as anxiety, stress, an over- or underbite, missing or crooked teeth, or sleep apnea.

Does teeth grinding do damage?

Yes. Regular teeth grinding can wear down teeth, weakening the teeth and causing a host of other oral problems. Patients that do not seek treatment for bruxism may need expensive treatments for fractured, cracked, and missing teeth.

What helps teeth grinding?

Schedule an appointment with your dentist. If your dentist finds any existing damage from teeth grinding, he or she can recommend treatment for any tooth damage. A mouth guard can prevent future damage. If stress may be the cause, alleviating the stress can help prevent more damage. Cutting down or avoiding alcohol and caffeine can also help with teeth grinding. A person with teeth grinding can also get some relief from learning to relax their jaw.