Tooth grinding, which is also called bruxism, is a common habit, but it is far from harmless. In fact, it can seriously affect your dental health. If you grind your teeth, they may be prematurely or unevenly worn down, or they may be prone to chipping or cracking. Grinding teeth can also cause other health problems as well. Tooth grinding is most common at night, or when people are sleeping, and most individuals who grind their teeth are unaware they are doing it until their partner or dentist mentions it.
According to studies, tooth grinding can be associated with both physical and psychological factors. Those who are anxious or stressed may be more likely to grind their teeth. Those with misaligned teeth and children with chronic ear infections may also be more likely to grind their teeth. In some cases, Parkinson’s disease may increase the incidence of tooth grinding, and some types of medications may also trigger the behavior.
Chronic tooth grinding can lead to damaged teeth and gums, facial pain, jaw pain and headaches. Those who are experiencing tooth grinding have several treatment options that can help decrease the frequency and severity of bruxism and reduce the damage associated with the habit. Those who are experiencing extreme stress, who are angry or who are depressed may benefit from discussing their health care needs with their doctor or dental health professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy may help you better manage your daily experiences while a regular exercise routine, such as yoga or Tai Chi, can help relieve tension.
Mouth guards and splints can also help. These are dental appliances that are customized to your needs and can help prevent nocturnal tooth grinding and the damage associated with it. In some cases, your Los Angeles dentist may recommend more in-depth treatments. Orthodontics may be advised to treat any misalignments, and corrective surgery may be used to ensure proper bite form. Grinding your teeth may not be immediately bothersome to you, but the habit can permanently damage your teeth and cause chronic pain. Talk to your dental health professional about ways you can better manage your condition.