Many patients wonder how to stop teeth grinding. A seemingly simple problem, the symptoms of teeth grinding and the resulting TMJ problems, are not simple at all. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common problem in adults and children, and not always harmful. It involves the gnashing of teeth against each other with force. Most people grind their teeth at one point in time or another, and with no great harm done to their teeth or jaw. This can be due to habit, or to stress. When a person grinds their teeth frequently and consistently, this becomes a bigger problem, as damage can result.
Most people are not aware of their teeth grinding until they develop symptoms or damage to their teeth. Often it is discovered by the dentist, or by a loved one who hears the grinding at night. It can occur during the day, or at night. Teeth grinding during the day is often caused by stress and anxiety. During the night, it is thought to be caused by an abnormal bite, crooked teeth, and the like. Night time teeth grinding can be prevented using a dental bite guard.
When teeth grinding is frequent or regular enough to begin to damage the teeth and jaw, it can result in broken or loose teeth, even the loss of teeth, and TMJ or temporomandibular joint problems, which are more well known as jaw problems, up to and including lock jaw and hearing loss in the most severe cases. To treat the damage to the teeth over time, bridges, crowns, root canals, dentures, or implants may be necessary.
It is far more beneficial to prevent the teeth grinding, or at least to prevent the damage from it. Stress reduction can certainly impact the daytime bruxism, and may also help during the night as well. This may be done with Stress counseling, meditation, exercise, physical therapy, and even muscle relaxants. For those people for whom reducing stress is not how to stop teeth grinding, the most effective thing to do is find out what the cause is, and treat it. If there is no known cause, which is very common, the symptoms must be treated to prevent the damage mentioned earlier.
For individuals who have developed TMJ problems, meaning they have problems with pain, clicking of the jaw joint, and even a locked jaw, there are a number of treatments that are available, ranging from applying hot packs and eating soft foods to getting dental work done in order to correct bite problems and low level laser therapy to reduce inflammation in the joint to increase the range of motion.
For more information on how to stop teeth grinding, please contact Dr. Nahel Yanni at his New Brunswick New Jersey office to make an appointment for a consultation.