Bruxism refers to grinding or clenching the teeth, which usually happens involuntarily. Although grinding your teeth from time to time is not necessarily harmful, prolonged or chronic bruxism can cause painful symptoms, such as jaw pain and headaches, and can cause teeth to loosen or even fall out over time.
If you find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth, don’t worry; Dr. Darian Hampton of the Hamptons Family and Cosmetic Dentistry can help. Here, he offers the following tips to help you stop grinding your teeth.
Physical Factors That Contribute to Bruxism
There are many possible causes of bruxism, including a misaligned bite or trauma to the jaw or mouth that puts added stress on the temporomandibular joint (the hinged joint in the jaw that allows you to open and close your mouth). If you think you might have a misaligned bite, notice that certain teeth are moving out of place or suffer from symptoms that may indicate TMJ disorder (i.e., jaw pain, headaches, a clicking sound while you chew, a ringing in the ears and others), visit Dr. Hampton for a dental exam. Sometimes, correcting a misaligned bite with orthodontics or treating TMJ disorder can help improve bruxism.
Grinding or clenching the teeth is often the body’s response to an emotional disturbance. If work or other life events are causing you to feel stressed out, anxious or depressed and you find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth, working to resolve the cause of your stress or anxiety may also help to stop bruxism or relieve your symptoms. Try stress management techniques, such as yoga, massage, tai chi, meditation, taking a warm bath, taking a long walk or talking to a loved one. You may find that these techniques help to alleviate your source of stress — and your bruxism.
If you are not sure what is causing your bruxism, but you need relief from your symptoms, try the following dietary tips. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, both of which can exacerbate the problem. Also, avoid chewing gum or gnawing on pencils or items that are not food. All of these can cause your bruxism to worsen.
For Additional Help
If you have tried all these tips and still cannot stop yourself from grinding your teeth, visit Hampton Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for help. Dr. Hampton can offer additional treatment options, including a mouth guard to wear while sleeping, when bruxism often occurs. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hampton, contact Hamptons Family and Cosmetic Dentistry by calling (972) 395-9292.