You’re not alone if you grind or clench your teeth. According to studies, up to 8% of adults and up to 50% of children grind and clench their teeth on a regular basis. The Eugene Kids Dentist, helps patients break their teeth grinding and clenching behaviors with specific care regimens targeted at improving their oral health and wellness at Quest Dental in Eugene, OR.
What you can do if you’re grinding and clenching your teeth
Grinding and clenching are more than just annoyances. Chronic grinding (or bruxism) and clenching, if left untreated, can lead to a variety of serious health issues, including:
- Gum recession
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth cracks and chips
- Uneven or misshapen tooth surfaces
- Fractured teeth
- Tooth decay
- Infections and abscesses
- Jaw pain and headaches
- Sleep problems
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Tooth loss
Here are five things you may take to stop clenching and grinding your teeth and avoid more serious problems.
1. Always put on a night guard.
You put hundreds of pounds of strain on your jaws and teeth every time you grind or clench. Night guards cushion and protect the teeth, reducing jaw strain and tooth damage. Dr. Lassen can make you a personalized night guard for a better fit, more comfort, and a better night’s sleep.
2. Botox® injections are a viable option.
Botox is most known for its ability to decrease wrinkles around the eyes, brows, and forehead, but it’s also used in dentistry to assist reduce grinding and clenching, which can contribute to TMJ.
Botox is a neuromuscular drug, meaning it affects the nerve signals that cause your facial muscles to clench or stiffen. Botox injections in the jaw area help to reduce muscular contractions caused by clenching and grinding during the day and at night.
3. Take control of your stress.
Isn’t it easier said than done? Many people clench and grind their teeth to relieve tension, especially while sleeping. Meditation, yoga, mindful breathing, and other stress-relieving exercises can help you manage stress before it damages your teeth and jaw muscles.
4. Practice jaw exercises.
Exercising your jaws can assist relieve muscle tension and stress while also making your jaws more flexible and less tense.
Try this exercise: open your mouth wide and brush your tongue against your front teeth. You can also relieve stress by gently massaging your jaw muscles throughout the day.
5. Correct any defects in your smile
Uneven tooth surfaces, poor dental alignment, gaps between teeth, and even missing teeth can all make your jaw muscles work harder to straighten your teeth and jaw.
Restoring your bite and optimizing your jaw mechanics with restorative treatments like crowns, veneers, tooth contouring, or Invisalign® aligners can rebalance your bite and reduce your tendency to grind and clench.
Stop clenching and grinding your teeth.
Despite the fact that grinding and clenching are fairly frequent, many people are unaware that they are affected because much of our grinding and clenching occurs when we sleep. In fact, the only signs we may have are morning symptoms such as recurrent headaches or facial or jaw pain.
Dr. Lassen, fortunately, is an expert at spotting the telltale signs of teeth grinding (or bruxism). He looks for uneven tooth wear, gum recession, and other indicators of grinding and clenching during routine dental exams so you can seek treatment before major oral health problems arise.
If you experience teeth grinding (or bruxism) symptoms, seek treatment as soon as possible. To understand how Dr. Lassen can help you break your habits and enjoy a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles, call or book an appointment online at Quest Dental practice.