Why Does Teeth Grinding Happen and What To Do

Understanding Teeth Grinding or Bruxism

Do you experience waking up to a headache, a tension in your jaw, or a stiff neck? You may be grinding your teeth at night and not know it. If this happens too often and is causing you much concern, better see your dentist soon. Find out more about this condition called bruxism.

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition whereby you grind, or gnash, or clench your teeth repeatedly. You do it unconsciously when you’re awake or even while you’re sleeping. While it can happen sometimes and, thereby, not a serious dental issue, it can become severe. It can cause pain and discomfort to your jaw and neck, but can also lead to teeth misalignment, enamel erosion, and even gum disease.

What causes teeth grinding?

Bruxism is often linked to stress, anxiety, or to some major life problem. People who suffer bruxism can have sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, or mechanical problems with their teeth; for example, they may have broken teeth, missing teeth, or a misaligned bite. The condition may be an offshoot of a neurological problem such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease. Bruxism may be triggered also by certain medications, like antidepressants.

Most teeth grinding occurs at night, especially during sleep. Hence, most people are not aware that they have this condition. Close family members may be able to notice this, though. A telling sign and symptom of bruxism is a headache or jaw ache upon waking up. There is tension in the jaw and muscles around the neck are stiff or painful. The TMJ may feel sore as well.

A visit to your dentist can bring your attention to your teeth. Many teeth may have signs of enamel erosion, especially if your teeth grinding has been going on for some time. While bruxism that is mild may not need any specific treatment, severe cases need intervention. The aim is to protect your teeth and prevent further damage. A mouthguard may be recommended to use while sleeping.

Your dentist will have to analyze the probable cause of your teeth grinding and if certain mechanical issues are causing it, the dentist will have to remedy them. Broken or misaligned or a bad bite should be addressed. Stress triggers must be identified and may need different ways to relax the patient. For some, muscle relaxants, pain relievers, or even physical therapy may be prescribed. Likewise, limiting or avoiding certain food and drinks, such as caffeine, alcohol, and chewing gum, can help.


Bruxism Consultation by our Lynnwood Dentist

Come and visit your Lynnwood dentist if you think you are suffering from bruxism. Let us discuss causes and triggers to be able to resolve your situation, only here at Song Dental in Lynnwood.