Bruxism Blues – Complications of Teeth Clenching and Grinding
Teeth grinding or clenching your jaw at night or during the day is a habit called bruxism. You may not even be aware of your own behavior. Bruxism is believed to be stress-related. In many cases, it causes painful symptoms and progressive damage to tooth enamel that may lead to cavities. How your body responds to teeth grinding depends on many factors such as posture, eating habits, stress level, tooth alignment and sleep quality. If left untreated, it may eventually cause arthritis in your jaw.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Teeth grinding exerts intense pressure on your jaw muscles and surrounding tissues. Besides waking sleeping partners and wearing down teeth, it can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. Common symptoms associated with bruxism include:
- Anxiety, depression, and tension
- Jaw tenderness or pain
- Ear pain or fullness
- Sensitive teeth
- Eating disorders
10 Tips for Relieving the Discomfort of Teeth Grinding
The following ten tips can relieve pain and help prevent damage to teeth caused by teeth grinding:
- Deliberately relax your face and jaw muscles throughout the day.
- Have massage therapy for your face, neck, shoulders, and back.
- Apply moist heat or ice to painful jaw muscles.
- Use relaxation techniques, biofeedback, self-hypnosis, or cognitive therapy to reduce stress-related bruxism. Get at least eight hours of sleep every night.
- Ask your doctor about physical therapy.
- Be sure to stay hydrated.
- Avoid tough or hard foods like steak and nuts.
- Do not chew gum.
- Get a custom mouth guard or splint to reduce the damage caused by tooth grinding, or an evaluation of your jaw and teeth for orthodontic treatment.
- Your dentist may recommend surgery in severe cases, but only as a last resort.
Complications of Teeth Clenching and Grinding
While teeth clenching and grinding not a dangerous condition, it can lead to permanent tooth damage and chronic jaw problems. It can also indirectly cause complications such as fractured teeth, receding gums, bone loss, and eating disorders. If your symptoms do not improve with self-care, or you have trouble eating or opening your mouth, make an appointment with your dentist immediately for a bruxism evaluation.
To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Collingdale, call Gentle Dental of Collingdale today at (484) 427-4663 or make an appointment.
Gentle Dental offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Collingdale. With 14 affiliated practices in the Greater Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of Collingdale, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of Collingdale.