If you find yourself waking up with a headache or a sore jaw, you might be grinding your teeth. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding usually occurs during sleep, so you may not realize it is happening. While it is a common sleep disorder, many people also unknowingly clench their jaws and grind their teeth while they are awake. Teeth grinding can weaken your teeth, making them susceptible to breakage and decay.

Bruxism can lead to more serious issues.

Severe grinding of your teeth can cause loss of teeth, earaches, and can even change the appearance of your face. Bruxism can be a cause of TMD – temporomandibular  joint disorder. TMD can cause pain or tenderness in the face, shoulders, and face, chewing difficulty, or popping sounds in the jaw.

The joint in your jaw is one of the most complicated joints in your body.

The temporomandibular joint has a sliding hinge that allows movement side to side, up and down, and back to front. Along with bones and muscles, there is a piece of cartilage that protects the bones from wear and tear by absorbing most of the movement. Think of it like a shock absorber on your car. Because of this, chronic teeth grinding can lead to TMD.

Stress is believed to be the leading cause of bruxism.

Increased anxiety, stress, frustration, or anger can cause someone to grind their teeth. However, external factors such as side effects to medication, smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol or caffeine can also cause bruxism. Chewing gum can also contribute to your jaw muscles clenching and your teeth grinding.

A diagnosis can lead to better sleep and healthier teeth.

Your dentist can use digital radiography to take x-rays of your teeth and jaw to make an informed diagnosis. He may recommend an apparatus that can be custom fit for your mouth to prevent teeth grinding at night. He can also offer advice on lifestyle changes that may help minimize stress.

Call us today to stop grinding your teeth!

If you think you might be grinding your teeth, make an appointment with Dr. Jones or Dr. Harris at Mansfield Dental Associatesl by calling 817-473-6227. Located in Mansfield, TX, we also proudly welcome patients and families from all the surrounding communities, including South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian, and more.