If you find your teeth or jaw are sore in the morning, or your partner tells you you’re grinding your teeth at night, it’s time to take action. Grinding, clenching, or gnashing your teeth is a condition known as bruxism. Bruxism is classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. So what is causing you to grind your teeth? Is it harmful to your teeth? And how can you stop? Read on for everything you should know about grinding your teeth.
Why Am I Grinding My Teeth?
Occasional teeth grinding is not a big deal for most people. Occasional clenching when you’re stressed or overwhelmed (whether awake or asleep) is no cause for concern. But chronic teeth grinding can be harmful, and therefore it’s important to determine what is causing you to do it.
Teeth grinding is often a response to stress, chaos, fear, anxiety, or worry. It may be a subconscious habit you’ve developed. You may clench or grind while awake or asleep. Interestingly, certain personalities tend to clench more than others as well. Individuals who are naturally competitive, or those with aggressive personalities tend to be more prone to bruxism. You also may be more likely to grind your teeth if other family members also have bruxism.
Likewise, if you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, you are more likely to grind your teeth. People who snore are also known to grind their teeth at night more than those who don’t snore.
Certain medications including antidepressants may cause teeth grinding. The use of alcohol, drugs, smoking, or vaping may also make you more likely to grind your teeth. Individuals with certain medical conditions including dementia, ADHD, Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy, and GERD may also be more likely to grind their teeth.
However, most of the time grinding your teeth while you’re asleep is due to a problem with your bite (malocclusion). When your teeth are not properly aligned they rub against each other in ways they aren’t meant to. So if you have an overbite, underbite, crossbite you are more likely to grind or clench your teeth.
Is Grinding My Teeth Harmful?
Grinding your teeth can cause serious and permanent damage to your teeth, and cause other medical problems. Grinding your teeth may cause:
- Wearing away of tooth enamel
- Facial or jaw pain
- TMJ disorders
- Tooth fractures
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Flattened, worn teeth
How Can I Stop Grinding My Teeth?
If you’ve been told you grind your teeth by a loved one, it’s time to notify your dentist. To prevent further damage, you may be given a nightguard to wear when you sleep. If your bruxism is caused by a malocclusion such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite, you may need jaw surgery to correct the problem. If you suffer from sleep apnea or TMJ disorder, Costello Oral Surgery Associates can also provide treatment. We have three locations in New Jersey to best serve you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Maywood Office: 201-712-5556
Franklin Lakes Office: 201-848-5015
Wayne Office: 973-513-8100