When you have a stiff, aching jaw, the culprit is often involuntary grinding of the teeth. Usually, this grinding occurs during sleep, and you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw. While periodic grinding of the teeth is considered normal, continuous grinding can cause a variety of serious health problems not just to the teeth, but to other parts of the body as well. In addition to stress, an irregular bite or crooked or missing teeth can cause teeth grinding. There are many different things that one can do to prevent and stop teeth grinding. If you have a problem with grinding your teeth and need help, San Antonio Cosmetic Dentistry can help.
Signs You Might Be a Grinder
- Worn down, chipped, or flattened teeth—this usually happens with the molars
- Worn tooth enamel
- Sensitive teeth
- Earaches (not always a symptom, but sometimes occurs)
- Headaches originating from a sore jaw
- Tightness in your jaw
- Other facial pain
Grinding Can Lead To
- TMJ and other jaw-related issues
- Migraines or headaches
- Chipped teeth that require crowns, root canals, or other procedures
- In severe cases, it causes sleep apnea
Methods of Prevention
- If stress is the cause of your grinding, engage in activities that reduce stress. Exercise, attend counseling or try yoga and other relaxing activities.
- Have your dentist fit you for a mouth guard to wear while you sleep. The mouth guard will absorb the shock and pressure of grinding and protect your teeth.
- Avoid substances such as caffeine and alcohol
- Don’t chew on non-food items (i.e., pens)
- Train your jaw to stop clenching during the day by placing the tip of your tongue between your teeth. If your jaw is relaxed, you are less likely to clench it or grind your teeth.
- Help your jaw muscles relax before you go to bed by holding a hot towel against your cheek.
When it comes to your body, there are many habits and practices that you can do on your own, inclusive of keeping your teeth and mouth healthy and clean. However, for more pressing concerns, it is often best to consult with a professional for advice. Cosmetic Dental Associates provides quality dental care in a variety of fields, including general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry.