Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a semi-voluntary function that affects up to 8% of the adult population in the United States. Excessive grinding can cause headaches, aching muscles in the jaw and face, and worn and hypersensitive teeth. If left untreated, it can cause tooth breakage and loss.
Explore who is at risk of teeth grinding and the causes, and how Smile On Chicago Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center can help you protect your smile.
Who is at Risk for Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding can be divided into Awake Bruxism (AB) and Sleep Bruxism (SB). People who only grind their teeth at night are typically not conscious of it and won’t be aware of the problem until symptoms develop or a sleep partner tells them.
Although sleep bruxism occurs as often in men as in women, affecting between 8-16% of the population, waking bruxism disproportionately affects adult women.
As many as 50% of all children grind their teeth and see an onset of sleep bruxism within a year of developing incisors. However, roughly half of these cases cease grinding their teeth by the time they reach adulthood.
Why Do I Grind My Teeth?
Like breathing, mastication (the act of chewing) can be controlled consciously or subconsciously. However, some factors can cause you to grind your teeth without you realizing it.
Teeth grinding may be an indication of poor mental health. An unhealthy work-life balance or excessive stress in waking hours can also increase the frequency and severity of awake bruxism.
The actual position of a patient’s teeth, called occlusal factors, also increases the risk of tooth grinding.
Complications From Teeth Grinding
The intense pressure and friction that occurs between your teeth when you grind them can have serious side effects on your oral health. Some common complications that occur include:
1. Tooth damage
Grinding wears down tooth surface enamel, especially on the cusps and crown’s chewing surface. This leaves your teeth vulnerable to acid erosion and tooth decay. Grinding forces can also chip, crack, or wear down dental restorations like crowns, bridges, and fillings.
2. Increases tooth sensitivity
Grinding away the tooth enamel can expose the tooth dentin, which contains microscopic tubules leading to the pulp chamber that holds the tooth’s nerves. This can increase tooth sensitivity, leading to pain and avoidance of certain foods and beverages.
3. Jaw disorders
Bruxism puts pressure on the muscles and connective tissue in the jaw, leading to temporomandibular disorder (TMD). TMD can cause severe jaw, neck, and shoulder pain and may cause difficulty talking, chewing, and swallowing.
The continual force placed on the jaw, neck, and face muscles during tooth grinding can lead to tension headaches. Sleep bruxism can also reduce the quality and quantity of your sleep, leading to headaches and fatigue from sleep deprivation.
How to Treat Teeth Grinding
If you involuntarily grind your teeth or you’ve been experiencing symptoms of bruxism, it’s essential to seek treatment at Smile On Chicago Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center.
Treatment for bruxism can vary, but the most effective approach is occlusive management. The most common occlusive management strategy is using an occlusive appliance, such as a custom night guard.
This type of splint reduces bruxism activity and prevents teeth grinding from damaging the mouth’s surfaces. They’re typically made of hard acrylic resin and worn in the upper jaw. The material works as a shock absorption device to reduce pressure on the teeth and facial muscles.
Arrange Your Teeth Grinding Evaluation Today
If you need a consultation for bruxism treatment, contact the team at Smile On Chicago Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center at one of our two locations in Deerfield (224) 282-8939 or Lakeview (773) 525-5545.