Teeth grinding, known clinically as bruxism, is the unconscious clenching or grating of the teeth which is often the result of an imbalance in the bite or TMJ related disorder. Most people grind their teeth occasionally due to stress or anxiety, but when this occurs on a regular basis, it can cause significant damage to your dental health. A restorative dentist in Dallas, Dr. Huckin can provide solutions to reduce the issues caused by teeth grinding and restore any damage that has already been done to your smile.
AM I GRINDING MY TEETH?
It can be difficult to tell if you have been grinding your teeth, especially if you are doing it while you are sleeping. Often, people do not know they have been grinding their teeth until tooth damage has already occurred. This is why we recommend scheduling regular dental exams every 6 months. When you visit our office for an exam, Dr. Huckin looks for the common signs of teeth grinding, which include:
- Worn down teeth that have been flattened by teeth grinding
- Chipped, cracked teeth caused by the pressure that teeth grinding places on biting surfaces
- Teeth shifting or a change in your bite patterns
- Clicking or popping jaws when chewing due to increased muscle tension
Teeth grinding can also cause soreness in your jaw, shoulders, and neck which is especially noticeable in the morning. Additionally, you may experience ringing in your ears. If left untreated, teeth grinding can lead to the loosening or loss of teeth. This makes it especially important to seek treatment if you suspect you’ve been grinding your teeth.
TREATING TEETH GRINDING
Dr. Huckin will evaluate your teeth for any signs of damage. He will also try to determine the underlying cause of your bruxism, including a TMJ disorder. Together, you will discuss your treatment plan which often includes the use of a nightguard. Our custom-made night guards are an oral appliance that are worn only at night to allow the jaw to reposition and reduce any muscle tension and associated pain. Other treatments can include attending counseling, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants.