Bruxism – Teeth Grinding

Washington DC dentists to help effectively treat teeth grinding

The word “bruxism” in simple language is teeth grinding. This is a problem that many people have and may not even realize it. That’s because very often, people who have bruxism grind their teeth while they’re asleep. Teeth grinding may be caused by stress or anxiety, but in many people it’s just a reflex. Sometimes children grind their teeth in their sleep and never outgrow the habit. Chronic teeth grinding can cause complications including wearing down of the teeth, cracked teeth and even loss of teeth.

Some people experience headaches or jaw pain when they wake up. This could be a sign of teeth grinding. If you don’t have pain when you awaken, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t grind your teeth. Even if you don’t suspect that your grind your teeth, a visit to our office might turn up evidence that you do. Dentists can see signs of bruxism by examining your teeth and jaws. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to eliminate the habit.

  • Learn to relax your jaws. If you ever notice yourself grinding or clenching your teeth while you’re awake, stop.
  • Separate your teeth and put the tip of your tongue between them. This will help train your jaws to relax.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, particularly at night, as these may increase the likelihood that you’ll grind your teeth.
  • If your teeth grinding is a severe problem, a mouthguard could be fitted for you to wear at night.

Teeth grinding affects about ten percent of Americans, and many of them have an abnormal bite or crooked teeth. Getting these situations corrected may be of help in reducing grinding.

If you suspect that you grind your teeth while you sleep – or even if you don’t suspect it – call our office for an appointment for a dental checkup. If our dentist sees signs of grinding, ask about prevention techniques and treatment for any problems your teeth grinding may have already caused.