Important Information You Need to Know About Teeth Grinding

by Samantha on March 8, 2010

Many people suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding at night. Most people assume that getting fitted with a mouth guard will solve their problem. This is not necessarily the case. There are many things you need to know about bruxism and mouth guards. This article seeks to provide the essential information that all sufferers of bruxism need to know.

First, bruxism can cause a slew of problems. For example, grinding your teeth can wear down your tooth enamel. It can also lead to cracked or loose teeth. Others may experience pain in their neck, jaw and/or neck, as well as suffer from migraine headaches.

Some people who grind their teeth at night also report sensitivity to food and drink that is either hot or cold. Contrary to popular believe, mouth guards do not usually put an end to bruxism. In fact, they can have the opposite effect and actually exacerbate the condition. People who wear mouth guards often end up clenching their teeth more when they wear it.

Wearing a mouth guard will certainly protect your teeth from being damaged from teeth grinding. However, by clenching your teeth more when wearing the guard, you can end up with other physical problems, such as migraine headaches, or neck, facial and/or jaw pain.

The cause of bruxism is often associated with daily stress. However, although this may be the cause initially, many people tend to continue grinding and clenching their teeth at night even after that stress has been eliminated, making it become a habit instead of a response. One bruxism becomes a habit, then you can end up causing damage to your teeth, such as cracking a tooth. This, in turn, will bring about a hefty bill from the dentist for repairing the damaged tooth.

A dentist can utilize a method to end grinding through the interlocking of the upper and lower teeth during clenching. However, this “fix” does not stop teeth clenching, nor does it prevent such problems as cracked teeth, migraine headaches, jaw or neck pain, or TMJ problems. A dentist may also fit you with a mouth guard. However, mouth guards are often made from toxic materials which can be ingested into the body when chewed on, which is what will happen while wearing it at night.

Bruxism is not caused by teeth misalignment, as some believe. However, that sense of misalignment can contribute to keeping the teeth grinding/clenching habit going. Because teeth grinding and clenching becomes a habit, there are behavior modification techniques that can be used to put an end to it, or at the very least, lessen the habit. Such behavior modification techniques that have worked for some people include a change in diet, daily exercise, biofeedback, making changes in your sleep environment, reducing stress, hypnotherapy, chiropractic therapy, and massage.

If you do wish to wear a mouth guard, you can be fitted with one at your dentist’s office, or you can purchase an over-the-counter mouth guard. A mouth guard that you obtain from your dentist usually costs around $700, although it only costs your dentist about $50 to make. An over-the-counter mouth guard is much cheaper, can be purchased from CVS or online, and does not perform much different from the more expensive, dentist-made version.

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