How often do you grind your teeth? If you answer yes, then you might want to consider seeing a dentist. Grinding your teeth can cause damage to your gums, jawbone, and even your teeth.

Grinding your teeth is normal behavior. It helps us chew food and also keeps our jaws from growing too large. However, if you grind your teeth excessively or habitually, it can become problematic.

“Teeth grinding” refers to the act of clenching your teeth together. When you do this, you put pressure on your jaw muscles, causing them to contract. This causes pain in your face and neck, and can eventually lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is caused by stress, depression, anxiety, and other issues. Some antidepressants increase the risk of bruxism, while others decrease it.

Bruxism is also associated with sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when your throat relaxes, causing your airway to narrow and block airflow. When you breathe through your nose, the airways close automatically, preventing oxygen from entering your lungs. If you grind your teeth while you sleep, the vibrations could help reopen your airways and allow you to breathe normally again.

Lastly, if you have an abnormal bite or your teeth aren’t aligned properly, then you may be more likely to suffer from bruxism.

Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

Tooth Damage

If you grind your teeth constantly, it can wear away at the enamel on the tips of your teeth. It can also cause your teeth to become more brittle and break easily. If you clench your teeth tightly enough, it can crack the surface of your teeth and even damage the filling material inside your teeth. This causes pain and discomfort, and may eventually lead to tooth loss.

Sensitivity & Gum Infection

Bruxism causes your gums to recede and exposes your teeth. Your teeth will become more sensitive and there could be an increased chance of infections. If your gums start pulling back from your teeth, you should see your dentist.

Jaw Pain

When you grind your teeth, it puts pressure on your jaw joints. Over time, this repeated strain can cause arthritis in your jaw joint and cause severe pain. You might notice a clicking sound when you open or close your mouth.

Sleep Problems

Grinding your teeth at night can disrupt your normal breathing patterns and make it harder for you to get quality rest. As a result, you may wake up feeling tired and groggy.

Other Symptoms

You might experience headaches, neck stiffness, muscle aches, dry mouth, and soreness. In addition, you may feel like you are having trouble swallowing food.

What Are The Treatments For Teeth Grinding?

Treatments for teeth grinding vary depending on what type of treatment is needed. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep, contact your dentist.

At All in the Family Dental, we are committed to providing comprehensive care to our patients. If you’re in need of a dentist in the Evansville, Indiana area, please contact us today!