What Happens When You Grind Your Teeth

For some people, the term “biting your tongue” when you’re frustrated is a little more literal than for others. Though you (hopefully) don’t actually bite your tongue to keep quiet, you may find yourself trying to bite something as your teeth grind together in anger. Teeth grinding is a natural reaction to stress, stemming from clenched jaw muscles as your body becomes tense. If your teeth are strong and healthy, then the occasional stress shouldn’t have any long-lasting effects on your oral health. When you grind your teeth habitually (bruxism), then your Richmond dentist, Dr. Moiceanu, may have to restore your teeth from extensive wear and damage, and your jaw’s joints can suffer from the strain, as well.

Why Bruxism is a Problem

Tooth decay and gum disease are caused by oral bacteria, which gather in force when your dental hygiene isn’t up to par. Bruxism, however, can result from a number of different reasons, and effective treatment often depends on what’s causing the habit. If your bite is imbalanced due to crooked teeth or an asymmetrical jawbone, then your jaw may clench repeatedly as it tries to find a comfortable resting position. An undue amount of personal and professional stress can also lead to excessive teeth grinding. Regardless of the instigating cause, bruxism can excessively wear down or damage your teeth and throw your bite off balance, leading to a host of subsequent problems like TMJ disorder (a dysfunction in your jaw’s joints).

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Unfortunately, many patients grind their teeth while sleeping, and aren’t consciously aware of their habit. Luckily, that doesn’t mean that teeth grinding is untreatable. During your routine dental exam and cleaning, Dr. Moiceanu may spot signs of tooth wear or other dental injuries that can indicate a grinding habit. A thorough examination will help Dr. Moiceanu determine the cause of your condition and prescribe a case-specific course of treatment to correct it. To protect your teeth from each other, Dr. Moiceanu may recommend wearing a custom-designed sleepguard while you sleep. Like a sports mouthguard, a sleepguard consists of comfortable, form-fitting plastic and will help prevent your teeth from scraping together when you sleep.

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