Unfortunately, bruxism or teeth grinding is an incredibly common condition that occurs in adults. It is a condition that can be incredibly uncomfortable, and the constant, subconscious clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth can cause muscle pain, joint pain or both.
Teeth grinding may occur during the daytime; however, it is a much more common occurrence whilst a person is sleeping. In fact, it is estimated that around 80% of all bruxism occurs subconsciously, which means that the majority of people who struggle with this condition are not even aware that they have an issue. At dentists across the country, including Portobello Dental Clinic, it can often be that this is the case. Many patients are unaware of the damage that they have been causing to their teeth whilst they sleep.
The symptoms and the causes
There are some common symptoms that you should be aware of that may indicate that tooth grinding is an issue. These include:
· Sensitive teeth
· Aching or soreness around the jaw area in the morning
Unfortunately, it is not always clear what the cause might be for teeth grinding, but it is believed that this is linked to several factors rather than just one. For many individuals, the occurrence of bruxism is more prevalent during periods when they are under increased stress. Because this teeth grinding most commonly occurs during sleep, it is not easy to control, nor is it possible to “train” yourself to do it less.
With this in mind, and of course, taking into account the increased stress that many people have been under over the course of the last couple of years, there are some steps that you can take with regard to not only managing the problem but also reducing the long term damage risks that may occur.
What can I do?
One of the best ways in which you can help your teeth is to make regular visits to your dentist. If you are not aware that you are grinding your teeth, then your dentist will spot the telltale signs during a regular check-up; this is the easiest way of catching the problem before it becomes too severe. Your dentist will then be able to discuss any relevant treatment options with you in order to help with the problem. It is recommended to see a dentist on an annual basis or more regularly if you notice any changes in your mouth.
One of the treatments that your dentist may suggest is a mouth guard or mouth splint. This is something that creates a physical barrier in the mouth and helps to prevent further damage to the teeth. There are a range of these devices available, and your dentist will discuss your options with you.
Other things that your dentist will suggest can include stopping chewing gum which can actually cause more pain and discomfort in the mouth, exercises that will help to relax your jaw, and even self-care. Because the majority of individuals who suffer from bruxism do so because of stress, it can be a good idea to work on reducing the stress. This can be done by using relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga.
Whilst there may be some instances where the stress that is causing you to grind your teeth may be significant and not easily relieved, there will be times when the cause is actually something quite minor. Getting to the root of what is causing you to be stressed will allow you to work on reducing the stress, and hopefully, this will lead to a reduction in the teeth grinding.