Do you wake up in the morning with a sore or aching jaw? This is often the result of bruxism, a condition that causes chronic teeth clenching and grinding. Bruxism often occurs at night while we sleep, and often the person who clenches and grinds is the last one to know!
Many people have a tendency to clench their teeth or grind slightly when they are upset or stressed out about something. But when the clenching and grinding doesn’t let up or it happens when you aren’t aware of it, it can turn into a serious problem.
The Problem with Bruxism
Your jaws can exert a lot of force. This is great if you are enjoying a juicy steak or a crunchy apple, but not so great if you are clenching your teeth while you sleep!
Over time, the force of your teeth grinding together can do considerable damage. You can wear down your enamel or the chewing surface of your teeth. You may develop abfractions, which are small notches in your enamel near your gumline. You may even crack or lose teeth, which affects the alignment of your bite and contributes to a whole host of additional problems.
Some people who clench or grind their teeth also develop problems with their jaw joints. This can turn into a painful joint dysfunction known as TMJ or TMD.
We’d prefer to avoid all of that unpleasantness. Fortunately, the treatment for clenching and grinding can actually be quite simple. A custom-made nightguard that you wear while you sleep can help ease uncomfortable symptoms and avoid problematic complications.
At every appointment, Dr. Wahlers will look for signs of damage that can indicate a clenching and grinding habit. You may already suspect that you clench or grind, or a partner may have told you that you grind your teeth at night. If you are diagnosed with bruxism, Dr. Wahlers can create a nightguard for you made from impressions of your teeth. The nightguard is comfortable, easy to adjust to, and won’t impede your breathing while you sleep.
It is also helpful to address the underlying reasons why you clench and grind. If you have been under chronic stress, we can look at some ways to relieve stress such as talking to a counselor. Sometimes, a misalignment in your bite can drive bruxism, and this can be resolved by realigning the bite with a crown or other restoration or straightening misaligned teeth with orthodontics.
Dr. Wahlers will take the time to explain your condition and provide you with digital imagery so that you can see what’s going on inside your mouth. He will make sure to listen to any concerns you may have and answer all your questions.
Call for an Examination
If your jaws are frequently sore or you suspect that you are grinding or clenching your teeth, please call our East Norriton dental office today to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Wahlers. Bruxism is highly treatable, and there’s no reason for you to be in pain.