A habit that many people have and might not even know it is clenching and grinding the teeth, otherwise known as bruxism. Bruxism can lead to enamel erosion, broken teeth, lost fillings, and pain. The tricky thing about it is that many tend to do it in their sleep, which means they might not be aware that it’s even occurring until damage has been done. Read on to find out the signs that you are clenching and grinding, along with tips on what to do about it.
Signs of Bruxism
You might catch yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth during the day. Or you might not know that you’re doing it. One sign of grinding in your sleep is jaw pain and headaches in the morning. Another is that your molars feel tender. Finally, if you have a sleeping partner, he or she might complain that you are making grinding sounds in your sleep. Your dentist will be able to tell if you are grinding your teeth because your enamel will often wear down on your molars.
Many people who grind and clench their teeth do so as a reaction to stress. Today’s lifestyles tend to be stressful: Work, children, household chores, volunteer positions, errands, and going back to school as an adult all can pile up and make us feel very overwhelmed. Bruxism becomes a habit much like nail-biting or smoking in times of stress.
You can reduce stress by being aware of it. Exercising daily can reduce stress and bruxism. So can getting enough sleep. Yoga and meditation are more strategies to try.
Getting a Mouthguard
In the meantime, your dentist can fit you for a mouthguard, which is a removable appliance that you wear while you sleep. You can grind your teeth against it and it will help prevent tooth damage and pain.
If you believe you are clenching and grinding your teeth, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We can fit you for a mouthguard and let you know about any dental work that needs to be done.