Have you ever woken up with a stiff or sore jaw? Or, upon first waking up, are you regularly greeted with a throbbing headache? Do you get ringing in your ears or notice marks around the edges of your tongue?
According to the American Dental Association, there has been a 69% increase in patients who clench or grind their teeth since the start of the pandemic. And most people who grind their teeth or clench their jaws at night don’t even realize they are doing it—it is an unconscious behavior. However, most people who are teeth grinders, whether they realize it or not, do have symptoms and signs that point to this behavior.
Bruxism, the formal term for teeth grinding, can apply up to 200 pounds of force to your teeth; this is six times greater than when you chew your food. So, it’s no surprise that regularly applying this kind of pressure has noticeable consequences.
There is good news, though. Teeth grinding is a totally treatable condition, and Parker Dentistry, your family and cosmetic dentist in Hollywood, has the tools and expertise to provide a customized solution to treat and stop bruxism. But first, how do you know if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw at night?
Tell Tale Signs That You’ve Been Grinding Your Teeth
Cracked, chipped, or loose teeth
Tooth sensitivity or pain
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain
Clicking of your jaw
Pain around your ears or temples
Flattened or worn-down teeth
Tight or sore jaw muscles
Tooth indentations on the tongue
Your partner tells you they hear you grinding your teeth at night
Why Do You Grind Your Teeth?
The most common causes of teeth grinding are:
Stress and anxiety
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
Missing or crooked teeth
Certain medical conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), epilepsy, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease
Smoking (smokers are twice as likely to grind their teeth as nonsmokers)
How Parker Dentistry in Hollywood, Florida Treats Teeth Grinding
One of the most common and easiest solutions to protect your teeth from the wear and tear of bruxism is a bite guard (also known as a mouth guard). Your custom-created night guard is easy to wear and easy to clean, and begins working immediately. However, part of our philosophy at Parker Dentistry is to address the root problem, not just alleviate or treat the symptoms. Obstructive sleep apnea and missing or crooked teeth are major contributing factors to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Fortunately, two of Parker Dentistry’s specialties are sleep apnea and Invisalign!
We also recommend cutting back on caffeine, kicking your smoking habit to the curb, addressing sources of stress, learning stress management techniques, regular exercise, and employing relaxation techniques to help reduce the causes of teeth grinding.
If you have any concerns that you might be grinding your teeth (or have sleep apnea), talk to Dr. Blake or Dr. Steve at your next appointment and recieve a professional evalution.