Teeth Grinding – Causes, Treatments, and Consequences

Teeth Grinding Can Be A Serious Issue

Studies show at least 10% of the world’s population deals with some form of teeth grinding, with the number rising to 15% in children.

This is a staggering figure and illustrates the seriousness of this problem. It’s time to look at what teeth grinding is all about for those trying to understand the root cause of their dental worries.

Here’s a look at the leading causes, treatment options, and consequences of teeth grinding.

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Man with Toothache

What is Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding or bruxism refers to the clenching, grinding, and/or gnashing of the upper and lower teeth. In some cases, the condition occurs during the day (i.e., awake bruxism), while others do it unconsciously during their sleep.

It’s a problem that can result in significant symptoms that reduce a patient’s quality of life.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is often seen as an unconscious reality for sufferers. This means patients will often exhibit all of the symptoms associated with teeth grinding and not realize it’s happening.

To better understand what teeth grinding is all about, it’s time to look at some of the symptoms.

The leading causes include:

* Sleep Disorders
* Medications
* Stress/Anxiety
* Lifestyle Changes

In some cases, patients will list 2-3 of these reasons behind their teeth grinding worries. A medical professional needs to look deeper into these symptoms and figure out how to alleviate the patient’s concerns.

Most patients have to make changes to their sleeping habits, lifestyle, and/or use of medications right away.

Treatment for Teeth Grinding

1) Mouthguard

This is a standard treatment option for patients that has both short and long-term benefits. The idea is to wear the mouthguard before going to bed to make sure sleeping doesn’t worsen it.

This is a treatment often prescribed to patients that deal with nighttime bruxism.

2) Muscle Relaxants

If the muscles around the oral cavity remain tense/clenched, this can lead to persistent teeth grinding. Patients may not realize its happening, but the problem will worsen with time.

Medical professionals often prescribe muscle relaxants to reduce tension in the area to get rid of the issue.

3) Dental Corrections

With severe cases, the number one suggestion is to look for a long-term solution. This means making dental corrections to the teeth/jaw to re-align how the teeth sit. This can make it easier to prevent teeth grinding.

4) Stress Management

It’s recommended for many patients to seek stress management therapy and/or implement changes to their lifestyle for reducing stress.

When stress levels are high, patients will often exhibit symptoms associated with teeth grinding. This usually revolves around clenching their teeth due to the unrelenting stress.

Teeth Grinding Bruxism

Consequences of Teeth Grinding

1) Headaches

This is a common consequence of teeth grinding since the muscles around the oral cavity remain tense. Due to the increased tension around the face, it can lead to headaches and neck pain.

This pain can become challenging to handle when it’s unrelenting and doesn’t disappear with regular pain medications.

Patients often require therapy for headaches over the long-run. This includes using stronger pain medications to alleviate the pain around both the head and jawline.

2) Jaw Pain and Tenderness

When the muscles around the oral cavity remain clenched all the time, this can lead to tenderness and/or pain in the jaw.

This becomes a persistent problem for patients that deal with bruxism around the clock. While it may not be an issue in the short-term, it does add up if the problem persists.

3) Worn-Down Teeth

Due to the unrelenting teeth grinding, whether it’s during the day or night, patients begin experiencing noticeable tooth decay. This means the enamel starts chipping away, which can result in significant cavities and rotting teeth. The more this happens, the worse a patient’s pain becomes.

Worn-down teeth are generally the last symptom but can have a troubling impact on a person’s health and quality of life.

Final Thoughts

It’s essential to seek medical assistance with issues such as teeth grinding. This can have a tremendous impact on a person’s dental health both in the short and long-term.

By seeking assistance, it’s possible to come up with a specialized plan before the problem worsens.

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