The Perils of Teeth Grinding and How We Can Help

Teeth grinding can be tough to treat because it often occurs subconsciously. How can you stop something you aren’t doing on purpose? That’s where dental professionals can help. Research has shown that up to nearly 50% of children grind their teeth at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. And while the symptoms are less common later on in life, plenty of adults grind their teeth, too. 

If you or a loved one are showing signs of this common problem, our experienced dentists at Swinney Dental in Tyler, Texas, can provide diagnosis and treatment. Read on to learn just how.

Bruxism basics

Teeth grinding is technically known as bruxism. It usually occurs while you’re sleeping, although symptoms can crop up during wakeful hours, too. And while anyone can fall into this habit, factors that increase your risk include emotional stress and anxiety, a family history of bruxism, and sleep disruptions, such as those linked with sleep apnea. 

Given that symptoms typically occur during sleep, you may not realize you’re doing so until the following symptoms lead you to recognize a problem:

You might not grind your teeth every night or at the same intensity. But you might notice that your symptoms get worse during particularly stressful times or when you’ve been lacking sleep. And if teeth grinding goes unaddressed, it can wear down the cartilage in the hinges of your jaw, resulting in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and more pain.

Teeth grinding treatment

Bruxism is often detected during a routine dental exam. If you notice jaw pain or other signs of teeth grinding in between exams, call our office. Our team can identify signs by analyzing the chewing surfaces of your molars. 

We may also give you a BiteStrip® to wear while you sleep. This device detects muscle clenching and jaw movements, giving our team a clearer idea of the severity and prevalence of your symptoms. 

If you have bruxism or TMJ disorder, we may recommend a custom mouthguard that prevents tooth damage or an NTI-tss™ device, which discourages clenching. Worn down teeth can often be restored through a procedure such as placement of a crown. Seeking emotional support, managing stress, and prioritizing healthy sleep habits can help, too.

To learn more about teeth grinding or get the care you need, call Swinney Dental to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chip Swinney or Dr. Kayla Morton. You can also use our online booking feature.

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