Teeth Grinding: Why Both Your Spouse and Your Teeth Are Upset
Everyone has probably ground their teeth at one time or another. However, if you’ve woken up more than once to find your spouse’s ears plugged, your teeth grinding may be a bigger issue than an annoyance to your sleep partner: it can adversely affect your health.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
“Grit your teeth and get through it” is a phrase used to motivate people to push through tough times, stressful times. The problem with gritting your teeth to cope with stress or anxiety is that the practice can enter your subconscious and continue into your sleep. Not only can gritting or grinding your teeth be linked back to an emotional or mental cause, but the catalyst for teeth grinding can also be a physical one, such as abnormal bite, missing teeth, crooked teeth, or a serious sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. It is important to find out the specific cause of a person’s teeth grinding, because conditions like sleep apnea can not be taken lightly, as they can cause hypertension, stroke, or heart failure.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
So your spouse is a heavy sleeper, or you live alone. Like a tree falling in the woods, how are you to know you grind your teeth if there is no one there to hear it? To you, you can’t hear it, so it didn’t happen. Luckily—or unluckily, depending on how you look at it—your body will let you know that you grind your teeth. If you often wake up with a dull headache, sore jaw, tired or tight jaw muscles, damaged inner cheeks, indentions on your tongue, or tooth pain, you should ask your dentist to check to see if you have signs of teeth grinding.
Harms of Teeth Grinding
Despite being obnoxious and leaving you with aches and pains, teeth grinding can cause real damage to your teeth, mouth, and face. The constant pressure of frequent grinding can loosen, fracture, wear down, or destroy teeth. That’s right, teeth grinding can lead to a broken tooth, eventual tooth loss, and the need for bridges, crowns, root canals, a dental implant, cosmetic dentistry, and even dentures. Besides harming your teeth, the grinding of your teeth can damage your jaws, facial joints and muscles, and distort the appearance of your face.
Treating Teeth Grinding
Now that we’ve told you how dangerous teeth grinding is, it’s time for some good news: teeth grinding is a treatable affliction! A common treatment is to have a mouth guard fitted by an experienced dental profession, like those found at Justice Dental. The mouth guard will protect your teeth from being ground down as you sleep and relieve you of the symptoms and harms associated with teeth grinding.
While teeth grinding may be treated by sleeping with a custom-fitted mouth guard, sometimes, treating the underlying cause of the grinding is just as efficient. If your grinding is caused by stress, anxiety, or a sleep disorder, seeking treatment for those issues may be enough to solve your teeth grinding problem. As discussed above, sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are serious afflictions, and a sleep disorder sufferer should talk to a doctor even if their teeth grinding problem has been solved with a mouth guard. Regardless of what you suspect is causing you to grind your teeth, you should see a dentist, so they can find the exact cause and examine the damage your grinding may or may not have caused.
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