Teeth grinding is a common problem for many people. The reason behind the teeth grinding is important and it influences the potential solutions for this unconscious habit. For many, the development of a customized night guard can prevent this condition from becoming a major problem and wreaking havoc on oral health.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism or sleep bruxism, most often occurs at night. You’re asleep, all is well, and then the gnashing, clenching, and crushing together of the teeth begins. If your partner hasn’t alerted you to this noisy habit, your morning headaches, jaw pain, worn enamel, and damaged teeth probably have.

Some of the most common causes of teeth grinding include:

  • Stress: In times of extreme stress or anxiety, temporary bruxism can occur. People may manage to keep their stress under wraps or hold it together during waking hours but, at night, their teeth let it all out.
  • Sleep apnea: Sometimes sleep apnea and bruxism are a chicken-or-the-egg issue. In most cases, sleep apnea does not cause bruxism, but bruxism can be a side effect of sleep apnea. Your dentist can diagnose this obstructive condition and treat both.
  • Misalignment: When your jaw is out of alignment, your teeth can press together in the wrong ways, put tension and pressure on certain areas, and cause teeth grinding.

Even acid reflux, medication use, tobacco and alcohol use, or caffeine consumption can increase nighttime teeth grinding.

Consequences of Untreated Bruxism

There are many negative consequences of teeth grinding that, left unnoticed or untreated, can lead not only to chronic pain but severe oral health complications that require extensive dental restorations to repair and eliminate discomfort and damage, including:

  • Fractured or broken teeth
  • Damaged dental work
  • TMJ disorder
  • Gum recession
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Popping jaw joints
  • Restricted range of jaw motion
  • Tenderness in the jaw
  • Headaches

Solutions for Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding doesn’t always go away. Most often, it’s a chronic problem that can be treated immediately and successfully with certain methods and interventions.

A customized night guard is the fastest way to get relief from the side effects of teeth grinding. Designed just for you, and thick enough that your teeth cannot grind through it, the guard takes the pressure off the teeth, so they do not hit together and protects your enamel from damage while also minimizing pain.

Invisalign is a solution for some patients who are suffering with severe misalignment and grind their teeth as a result. Your Hampton Invisalign provider will let you know, though, if this treatment is likely to correct the problem, or simply minimize and still demand the need for a night guard to protect your teeth.

Do You Need a Night Guard?

Our teeth are powerful. They’re intended to bite and chew food into small particles so we can properly digest them. They are not meant, however, to bear down on each other for more than a few minutes every day during meals and snacks. When unconscious teeth grinding is causing pain, discomfort, and dental problems, contact Dr. Shevchenko at Smiles by the Sea in Hampton, NH, and make an appointment to find out how you can get a solution right away.