Teeth grinding (medically called bruxism) occurs during sleep and is linked to other health issues such as sleep apnea. Chronic teeth grinding may result in loosening or the loss of teeth and can even cause fracturing or may wear the teeth down to stumps.
Signs of Tooth Grinding
Unless a family member lets you know that you grind your teeth while sleeping, you may not be aware of it. Not everyone grinds their teeth while sleeping. Stressful situations can also cause people to grind their teeth. Signs of tooth grinding are:
- Excessive wear on the teeth
- Dull headaches
- Jaw tenderness
How to Stop Teeth Grinding
If grinding your teeth is the result of stress, you may want to have a discussion with your medical doctor about available options to help reduce your stress. Several options that may help you reduce stress are:
- Developing an exercise program
- Seeing a physical therapist or a stress counselor
- Taking a prescribed muscle relaxant
Suffering from a sleep disorder such as Sleep Apnea or Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) can also cause teeth grinding. Similar to sleep apnea, UARS is a condition when the inability to breathe leads to sleep interruption. It does not lower oxygen levels in the blood like sleep apnea.
You should request a referral for a specialist from your primary care physician or consult a board-certified sleep apnea doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment for Teeth Grinding
Bay City Smiles offers the following treatment options for teeth grinding:
- Bite Guard – Dr. Mahnke frequently uses teeth grinding mouth guards, or bite guards, to stop teeth grinding. A bite guard is a customized, removable appliance similar to a sports mouth guard that is made to fit over your teeth and prevent teeth grinding. Most bite guards are worn at night. However, some patients may find where they wear their teeth grinding mouth guard during high-stress situations.
- Bite Alignment Therapy – Dr. Mahnke provides a comprehensive and broad range of services to correct the causes of teeth grinding. Malocclusion, or improper alignment of the teeth, may be a likely cause for teeth grinding. Teeth can be corrected to proper alignment through the use of invisible braces, dental crowns, dental veneers or dental implants.
- Cosmetic Dentistry to Repair Damage – Once the teeth grinding causes have been successfully treated, Dr. Mahnke will focus on repairing damage caused by teeth grinding. Chronic teeth grinding can leave teeth worn, chipped or broken. Dr. Mahnke may repair teeth using dental crowns, porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding.
If you are experiencing any of the signs of tooth grinding, you should let Dr. Daryle Mahnke and the team at Bay City Smiles Dentistry evaluate, diagnose and provide a treatment option that will help to improve your condition. Contact us to schedule an appointment.