Chances are you clench your teeth from time to time–like when you want to say things you probably shouldn’t, or the weather outside is too cold for humans to function. Occasional teeth grinding is not a problem, but when it becomes a chronic issue, the consequences can be pretty severe.

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, has a wide variety of causes ranging from abnormal bite and crooked teeth to sleep apnea. It most often occurs during sleep, and can therefore be difficult to identify. Most people don’t know their teeth grind. But waking with jaw pain or a dull headache are telltale signs. Your spouse might also notice grinding noises.

Bruxism can lead to serious problems. Teeth can wear down more than normal and fracture, necessitating crowns, implants, bridges, or even dentures. It can also worsen TMJ/TMD and even change facial appearance. If you notice teeth grinding in you or your partner, don’t write it off.

Treatment often includes using a fitted night guard during sleep to protect the teeth. You might also pursue stress reduction through counseling, exercise, physical therapy, or medication. Removing caffeine and alcohol from the diet can also help. Chewing gum or non-food items like pens lets jaw muscles get used to clenching, so try to avoid this. Relax your jaw muscles before bed with a warm cloth applied to the cheek in front of your earlobe.

If you are looking to treat your teeth grinding or want to be examined, call Dr Sharon Sims today. Sharon Sims is here to broaden smiles all over the Shreveport, LA, area.

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