Dental tips provided by Burnaby Dentists at North Burnaby Dental Group.
Has anyone ever told you that you grind your teeth while you’re asleep? Do you sometimes wake up with pain or tightness in your jaw? Do you seem to suffer all too often with headaches?
Unfortunately, teeth grinding or “bruxism” is something that most people unconsciously do at some point or other in their lives. Oftentimes we are not even aware of it, as it most commonly happens when we are asleep. For many though, it can lead to extreme tooth wear and related dental problems, as well as jaw and facial muscle pain and headaches. Although people can clench and grind without being aware of it during both the day and night, sleep-related bruxism is often the bigger problem because it is harder to control. There are however, effective forms of treatment and prevention.
Even if you are fortunate enough to not feel pain or discomfort as a result of teeth grinding, it is much more than just an inconvenience or annoyance to your sleeping companion. It is a health concern that needs to be addressed immediately, if possible. If you ignore teeth grinding, the negative effects on your health are wide and varied, as it can eventually lead to chipping and extreme wearing of your teeth, restricted jaw and facial movement, and gum recession. Even more serious, it can result in temporomandibular joint disorder (more commonly known as TMD). This disorder has a host of symptoms, everything from acute or chronic pain in the face and jaw, biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort, a clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth, earache, headache and migraine, hearing loss, neck and shoulder pain, and dizziness, to name only a few. In short, teeth grinding is something to be taken very seriously.
As it is often caused by stress, there are, fortunately, some things that you are able to do on your own to reduce the likelihood of grinding or to reduce it frequency and intensity. Learning and practising various relaxation techniques may not just help with bruxism, but with your overall health. Simply being aware to repeatedly relax your face and jaw muscles throughout the day can help to make facial relaxation a habit. Massage of the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and face may help not just to relieve pain, but also to relax the muscles and reduce the tendency to grind.
Not to be overlooked also is the role of your dentist. Your dentist is the first line of expert to consult with in cases of bruxism. They will be able to help you to determine if the use of a mouth guard, splint, or any similar protective dental device to be worn at night will be helpful for you. While there are a lot of mouth guards available over-the-counter in drug stores, depending on your mouth they may not fit well and could dislodge when teeth grinding. Your dentist will be able to offer input as to the suitability of such a device, and if necessary they will be able to customize one for you that will fit comfortably, last longer, and perform better than its drug store counterparts.
Yes, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies to the grinding of teeth. Rather than having it lead to the need for extensive dental repairs in the form of crowns and implants, or to dealing with chronic pain and other complications, why not speak to your dentist at North Burnaby Dental Group about it today?