Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is an unfortunate habit characterized by repeated clenching of the jaw, which causes teeth to grind or press against each other. Some people chalk it up to a nervous tick, which is a plausible explanation, since teeth grinding is often caused by stress or anxiety. Others don’t even know that they have a problem because they do it in their sleep. However, if you’re experiencing headaches or a sore jaw upon waking, chances are good that you’ve been grinding your teeth at night.
Teeth Grinding Causes
Nighttime grinding is most often caused by stress and anxiety, which can interfere with sleep and cause unconscious clenching of the jaw throughout the night. During waking hours, grinding can be a way to handle negative emotions, such as pent up anger or frustration. Daytime grinding can also be subconscious and you might suddenly catch yourself doing it.
Physical causes of bruxism include missing, crooked or misaligned teeth. In this case, the grinding is involuntary, caused by a physical defect rather than a psychological or emotional problem.
Bruxism is quite detrimental and can be evidenced by the following symptoms:
- Worn down teeth
- Loose teeth
- Fractured or chipped teeth
- Worn enamel
- Soreness and pain in jaw area
Treatment at Alabama Family Dentistry should be sought at the first sign of trouble. Left ignored, teeth grinding can result not just in damaged teeth, requiring expensive dental work, but, in extreme cases, hearing loss.
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