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Are You Grinding Your Teeth? Understanding Symptoms And Treatment Options

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Grinding your teeth may not seem like a big deal, but it can cause significant damage to your tooth enamel and leave you susceptible to decay and bacterial infections. Those who grind their teeth often do it when sleeping, but some people also do it when awake, particularly when feeling stressed or focussing on an important task. It's possible to be unaware that you have started grinding your teeth, and you may only find out you're doing it when visiting the dentist for a check-up. However, symptoms will appear over time to alert you to the problem, and it's best to seek treatment as soon as you become aware you are doing it to minimise the damage to your tooth enamel. Teeth grinding can occur due to stress or misaligned upper and lower teeth, and some medications can also cause it as a side effect. Read on to learn about the symptoms and treatment options for teeth grinding.

Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding

There are a few tell-tale signs that you are grinding your teeth. You may develop jaw pain or tight jaw muscles, and you may wake up with a headache around your temples. Your teeth can become sensitive due to enamel erosion, and you may notice indentations on the edge of your tongue caused by contact with your teeth when you grind them together. If you've been grinding your teeth for a long period of time, you may even be able to notice that some of your tooth surfaces have worn down.

Treatment Options

There are a few treatment options to prevent teeth grinding, and understanding why you are doing it will allow for the selection of the most appropriate option. If your upper and lower teeth are misaligned, you may need braces, or you may need to have some teeth extracted to address overcrowding. Proper alignment is good for the health of your teeth and the health of your jawbone. Grinding caused by stress or medication can be stopped by using a custom-made mouthguard. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and have a soft mouth guard made for you to wear at night. This will prevent the surfaces of your lower teeth from making contact with your upper teeth and can also prevent jaw stiffness. If your jaw muscles are very tight and you're experiencing severe headaches, muscle relaxants may be recommended for short-term use. Additionally, if permanent damage has already occurred to your enamel, your dentist may recommend having a dental sealant applied to affected teeth to protect them from decay.

Scheduling regular dental check-ups will allow your dentist to spot the signs of teeth grinding even if you haven't noticed any symptoms yourself. If you do have symptoms of teeth grinding, don't delay scheduling an exam.

Talk to a dentist if you are grinding your teeth.