Bruxism is the act of grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw. There are many reasons that this unintentional bad habit may occur, such as, stress, misaligned teeth, or a side effect of medication or medical disorder. Grinding your teeth usually happens subconsciously while you sleep. If you wake up with headaches, a sore jaw or teeth, or have noticed sensitivity to your teeth, you may be grinding your teeth. If you think you are grinding your teeth, you should talk to your dentist about treatment options. Treatment for bruxism is important as it can cause some serious side effects to both your oral and overall health.
Tooth Damage and Decay
Regular grinding of your teeth can cause tiny cracks, fissures, and breaks in your teeth. These tiny cracks can become home to hiding bacteria that will be hard to remove with regular brushing and flossing. Overtime, the bacteria in the cracks can cause tooth decay that will erode the enamel. Basically, tooth grinding gives bacteria a head start on causing cavities. If cavities are left untreated, there may ultimately be a need for root canal treatment or extraction. Tiny cracks in the teeth will also leave the teeth vulnerable to sudden breakage.
Since bruxism usually happens during sleep, it can be disruptive to your rest. You may not remember being disturbed, but you may wake up feeling tired and groggy.
Bruxism can increase your risk of developing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Your temporomandibular joint is the hinge that moves your jaw up and down and side to side. Grinding your teeth causes undue stress and pressure on this hinge joint that ultimately can lead to TMD. Symptoms of TMD include earaches, facial pain, headaches, dislocation of the jaw, and popping sounds during jaw movement. The pain and tenderness may even be felt in the neck and shoulders.
Do you grind your teeth?
Dr. Jones or Dr. Harris can treat bruxism. Schedule a consultation at Mansfield Dental Associates by calling 817-473-6227. Located in Mansfield, TX, we also welcome patients and families from all surrounding communities including South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian, and more.