Feeling stressed?

You’re not alone.

Due to the stress, you could be clenching or grinding your teeth.

This process called bruxism, which usually occurs as you sleep. Clenching and grinding can also be a result of sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or teeth that are misaligned. Bruxism is also twice as likely to occur in individuals who smoke and drink alcohol. Although teeth grinding can also be common in children, treatment is usually not necessary. Children usually outgrow this damaging habit by adolescence.

You may be wondering what symptoms could possibly arise from clenching and grinding your teeth.

Fractured or loose, painful teeth are the very serious, obvious signs of clenching and grinding. However, jaw soreness and dull headaches are other tell-tale, less obvious signs. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to discuss the option of a custom fit night guard that is worn during sleep to protect the teeth. Many individuals also find themselves clenching or grinding during the day. If you feel like you may fall into this category, try to be aware of the conditions that may cause you to clench or grind. Try to make a conscious effort to have your lips and jaw relaxed with your teeth apart.

Stress can also be a huge influencing factor for clenching and grinding.

Although relaxing can be difficult, it’s important to try for the sake of your teeth and overall well-being. Medication, counseling, and exercising are all excellent options to help alleviate stress. In extreme cases, a muscle relaxant before bedtime may be recommended.

Finally, a sleep study is recommended for any individuals grinding as a result of a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to many other health issues. If you think you may be clenching and grinding, please bring any questions or concerns to your next dental visit.

Emily H., RDH

Red Oak Dentistry