Photo used with permission from firesam.
Do you wake up with headaches? Is your jaw sore? Do you have indentions on your tongue or damage to the inside of your cheeks? These are just some of the symptoms that indicate you may be grinding your teeth at night. Most people do it without even realizing it. Chances are you’re doing serious damage to yourself. One of the biggest causes of teeth grinding is stress. Though we often can’t control the stress in our lives, we can do something about the damage done by grinding our teeth.
A Daily Mail article recently recounted the horror story of a woman named Sue, all because of teeth grinding. The official term is bruxism. But what it boils down to is If you’re grinding your teeth, you’re damaging them.
One of the most common things we see is the teeth are worn down. We’ve even seen patients who have worn their teeth down to the gums. This can lead to more serious problems, like abscesses and teeth falling out.
Grinding shifts your teeth, which damages the ligaments causing your teeth to go loose. The open spaces created by the shifts allow bacteria to get in where it otherwise wouldn’t. Some cases have been known to cause the jaw to completely lock up.
Your dentist can tell if grinding is the problem and can find a solution. In many cases it’s solved by simply wearing a bite guard. These are custom made to fit your unique tooth bite. You wear it while you sleep. It serves as a buffer between your tooth arches, enabling you to get a good night’s rest without destroying your bite.
If you have some of the symptoms mentioned above, your first step is to see your dentist. Many patients find that the debilitating headaches they’ve suffered from for years just disappear. This way, regardless of your stress level, you can at least have some peace of mind regarding your teeth.