Teeth Grinding Redondo Beach
Teeth grinding, also called “bruxism”, is a condition where you grind your teeth back and forth at night while you sleep. Around 40 million Americans suffer from teeth grinding. Patients who suffer from bruxism can experience tremendous pain and tension in their jaw and face, as well as other dental complications that can result from the enormous pressure their teeth experience during the night. Often times, due to stress and other factors, your jaws are working very hard while you are asleep and really trying to achieve a healthy night of restful sleep.
While there isn’t a cure for teeth grinding, there are definitely ways to manage it and reduce the pain and headaches that you’re experiencing.
What Exactly is Teeth Grinding?
Patients that come to our office for teeth grinding will sometimes suffer from two different kinds of teeth grinding. The first and most well known is nocturnal teeth grinding which is when patients grind their teeth back and forth while they sleep. There is also a daytime version of this where patients will grind their teeth unconsciously when they are in a tense or stressful situation.
In addition to the grinding movements of bruxism, it is also accompanied by very forceful clenching of the teeth. This clenching is different from when we’re chewing or biting down on food. When patients suffer from teeth grinding, the clenching can last up to an hour and is so forceful that it can actually form small cracks in the teeth and previous dental work. This kind of intense pressure can wear down on the chewing surface and even reduce the amount of enamel on the teeth down to the gum line.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
Patients who grind their teeth will often present some or several of the following symptoms.
- Loud grinding at night that may even wake up your partner or spouse.
- Headaches in the morning.
- Stiff or sore jaw muscles.
- Pain around your face.
- Painful yawns.
- Pain around the ears.
- Clicking, popping, grinding of the jaw joint.
- Regular contraction of the jaw muscles.
- Injury to your teeth or gums and damaged fillings.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
The medical literature on teeth grinding is mixed and not conclusive on what exactly causes teeth grinding. People who suffer from this should know that there are a few potential causes.
- Caffeine– Caffeine is a stimulant and has been linked in some cases to bruxism.
- Alcohol– Drinking alcohol at night may also cause teeth grinding.
- Stress– Anxiety and stress are two of the most common causes of teeth grinding.
- Sleep apnea– If you suffer from sleep apnea, a rare disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing during their sleep, it could be causing your teeth grinding.
- Your bite– If your teeth are not aligned or if you have missing teeth it can also cause you to clench and grind your teeth at night.
- Injury– Some rare types of brain injury can cause victims to clench and grind their teeth at night.
- Neuromuscular illness– There are some rare neuromuscular facial illnesses that can result in teeth grinding.
- Medication– In rare cases, some medication interactions can cause bruxism.
How to Treat Teeth Grinding
Men and women who suffer from teeth grinding have several treatment options available. We want to note here that the treatment plan we discuss with you will vary based on what we believe is causing your teeth grinding. If it is bite-related, the dentist may suggest straightening your teeth. If it is stress-related, he may discuss other alternatives with you as well.
- Cut out the stimulants– Eliminating or reducing caffeine and alcohol from your diet may be required in order to stop the chronic teeth grinding.
- Relax– If your bruxism is from stress, there are a number of ways to help you relax including counseling, exercise, meditation, breathing techniques, and music. Some patients even get prescriptions for muscle relaxers and BOTOX® injections to help their muscles relax.
- Dental solutions– If stress is not causing your teeth grinding, there are some dental solutions too. Custom fabricated mouth guards reduce the force exerted on your teeth. If your bruxism is caused by a bite misalignment then Invisalign® may also work to straighten it out.
- Medication– If your bruxism is caused by medication interaction, your physician may need to switch your medications.
- Injury or neuromuscular illness– In the case of an illness or an injury, your dentist and physician can work together to find a treatment plan.
The first step is to set up an appointment where you can ask your questions and discuss your symptoms. We’ll perform an initial exam and may even use imaging technology to look at your jaw joint and your bite.
If you’re tired of waking up with pain in your jaw, headaches, or disturbing your spouse or partner at night, call our office today at (310) 542-6988. We would love to get you into our office to meet with one of doctors so they can talk with you, answer your questions, and figure out exactly what’s going on. Call us today!