You’re probably familiar with the feeling. You get frustrated, stressed, or annoyed and you feel your teeth come together as your jaw muscles tighten. This grinding of your teeth or clenching your jaw is known as bruxism and you could be doing it more than you realize.
It’s normal to clench or grind your teeth on occasion. But when it becomes a habit, bruxism can cause permanent damage to your teeth and lead to other uncomfortable or even painful symptoms.
At the office of Gregory A. Williams, DMD, we have a lot of experience treating people who habitually grind their teeth. You shouldn’t be embarrassed, given how common this habit is. But you should make sure to see us as soon as you can to make sure you aren’t doing serious damage to your teeth, especially if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Dull headaches
- Jaw soreness
- Teeth that are painful or loose
- Fractured or chipped teeth
Causes of Teeth Grinding
According to experts, more than 70 percent of bruxism happens because of stress and anxiety. Most often, teeth grinding occurs subconsciously while you are asleep. However, there are other factors that can contribute to teeth grinding, including:
- Jaw problems
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Smoking or using tobacco
Teeth Grinding Treatment Options
The recommended treatment for teeth grinding depends on what is causing it in the first place. However, the main goal when treating bruxism is to reduce any pain or discomfort you are experiencing and to prevent further damage to your teeth by reducing clenching and grinding as much as possible.
Mouthguard for Teeth Grinding
At Dr. Williams’s office, we have seen firsthand how much of a difference a custom-made mouthguard can make for a patient who grinds their teeth. The first thing you should know about these mouthguards is that they are different than the kind worn during sports or recreational activities and are instead worn while you sleep.
When you visit our Tigard, OR dental office, we can discuss the different kinds of mouthguards available that can fit your mouth in different ways. We want to find a protective dental appliance that will fit comfortably in your mouth while offering the greatest protection for your teeth.
Our customized mouthguards work by protecting your teeth and preventing clenching while stabilizing your jaw in a more relaxed and comfortable position. We can assure you that these mouthguards aren’t painful to wear, but they may take some getting used to. You can always try different kinds until you find the one that is most comfortable and effective for you.
In addition to a mouthguard, if your habit is stress-related, we will likely discuss techniques that will help you to better manage your stress. Keep in mind that we will ever embarrass you or judge you. We simply want to help!