There may be times when you catch yourself clenching your teeth together. It’s a natural, sometimes nervous reaction, and when it occurs every once in a while, it doesn’t necessarily pose a threat to healthy teeth. However, when you grind your teeth constantly and seemingly for no reason, it’s often an indication that you have bruxism – a dental condition that causes you to unconsciously grind your teeth together. At our Richfield, MN, dental office, we can help you determine if you have bruxism, and if you can benefit from custom-designed treatment to address it.
You grind your teeth more than you can control
When you occasionally grind your teeth, you can easily stop once you notice it. Or, you’ll stop naturally once the nervous tic passes. However, when you have bruxism, stopping yourself from grinding your teeth isn’t as simple. If you do notice, you might force them to stop temporarily, but they’ll pick back up again before long. For many patients, the grinding occurs more often when they sleep at night and it’s impossible for them to consciously stop. This constant, uncontrollable grinding is a telltale sign of bruxism, and the longer you wait to seek treatment, the more damage it can cause to your teeth.
Your teeth are wearing down from the grinding
The more your teeth grind each other down, the more noticeable it will become as their chewing surfaces suffer from the constant friction. The wearing down of your teeth’s surface can become noticeable in several ways, from increased sensitivity when you bite and chew to the general feeling that your bite’s balance is off whenever you eat or smile. Once tooth wear becomes obvious, the damage to your tooth structure may be significant, and restoring your smile could require repairing and rebuilding one or more teeth.
Your jaw and face muscles are starting to hurt
The force that your jaw can exert whenever you bite and chew unconsciously can do more than just harm your teeth; it can also wear out and damage your jaw’s joints and muscles. You may notice your jaw and facial muscles are sore when you wake up in the morning after a night of grinding your teeth together, or that you experience a popping or clicking sensation in the joints when you bite and chew. These symptoms, often related to TMJ disorder, will grow worse the longer it takes you to address your bruxism.
Find out if you have bruxism
Just because you grind your teeth doesn’t mean you have bruxism, but if these symptoms suggest that you do, then you should seek a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Keller by calling Cedar West Family Dentistry in Richfield, MN, today at (612) 861-7188.