Why Grinding Your Teeth Might Be More than Just Stress

When you’re particularly stressed, angry, in pain, or in deep thought, clenching your jaws and grinding your teeth together can be a natural reaction. Once the moment passes, the grinding should stop. However, for many patients, teeth-grinding isn’t a reaction to a temporary stressor; it’s a condition known as bruxism, and it won’t stop just because it’s noticed. At our Grand Prairie, TX, dental office, we can help you determine if you have bruxism, and how to help you stop grinding your teeth to prevent serious damage to their structures.

A closer look at bruxism

Bruxism can develop for a number of different reasons, many of which are related to the health, function, and/or alignment of your teeth and oral structures. For example, if your teeth are crooked, your bite can be off balance, affecting the joints and muscles that control your its movement. Grinding your teeth can sometimes be a result of your jaws trying to find a more comfortable position, or spasming because of the imbalance. Before recommending an appropriate treatment plan, we’ll carefully inspect and diagnose your bruxism to help determine its specific cause.

What happens when you ignore it

When bruxism first develops, it can be easy to ignore. You might write off the times you catch yourself grinding your teeth as nothing more than isolated incidents, especially if no other symptoms have developed yet. However, the longer you grind your teeth unchecked, the more it can affect the health and integrity of their structures. Common symptoms of untreated bruxism can include:

  • Tooth sensitivity that grows increasingly worse
  • Sore and painful jaw muscles
  • Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
  • Changes in how your bite feels when you close it
  • And more

How can you treat it?

While people can develop bruxism for many different reasons, many can find relief with a custom-designed oral appliance, or nightguard, that protects their teeth. The appliance is similar to a mouthguard, but smaller and more comfortable so you can still sleep soundly throughout the night. With the guard in place, your teeth won’t be able to grind against each other or wear down and damage their structures. If your condition is caused by severe tooth misalignment or other bite imbalance, then you may need to correct it to improve your bite’s function and stop constantly grinding your teeth.

Learn how to stop grinding your teeth

Grinding your teeth together can be a sign of several different things, but when it’s consistent enough to be considered bruxism, you shouldn’t wait to seek treatment to stop. For more information, schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith and our team by calling Pecan Tree Dental in Grand Prairie, TX, today at (972) 262-5111.