Do you ever find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth? Teeth grinding is known as bruxism. It's common to do it from time to time, but when we do it regularly it can become a big problem for our teeth, our jaw, and our overall health.
Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?
When we're tense or stressed, many times we clench or grind our teeth without even thinking. Other times it may be as a result of TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) or sleep apnea. Or sometimes it's a result of an abnormal bite or missing teeth. When you grind your teeth in your sleep for hours each night, it can cause serious damage to your teeth and bones.
What Are the Signs of Bruxism?
- Constant sore jaw in the morning
- Worn or broken teeth
- People hearing you grind your teeth as you sleep
How Does a Dentist Diagnose Bruxism?
Beaverton dentist, Dr. Douglas Shafer, regularly looks for signs of teeth grinding and clenching. At a typical exam he will look for
- Worn, fractured, or missing teeth
- Broken or damaged fillings
- Tenderness in your jaw muscles
- Exostoses, extra bony growths in the upper and/or lower jaw
How is Bruxism Treated?
Beginning treatment may be as simple as creating awareness so you stop yourself when you start to clench or grind. Managing your stress or anxiety may also help curb the habit. But since it often happens when you're asleep and unable to stop yourself, Dr. Shafer will usually recommend a night guard.
Good Life Dentistry can now make night guards and mouth guards in our own lab with the MiniSTAR Pressure Thermal Forming machine. Using advanced thermostatic heating technology, this machine fabricates mouth appliances with professional results. This means we can create night guards and mouth guards for our patients faster and with greater accuracy.
Are you noticing signs of bruxism? Please call 503-579-5060 or request an appointment today. We're here to help.