Have you ever been in a situation when you wanted to say something, but you either couldn’t or knew that you shouldn’t?
Instead, you may have figuratively bitten your tongue while literally clenching or grinding your teeth together.
In that moment, you probably weren’t thinking about how grinding your teeth is bad for your oral health or how it could lead to other problems.
Now, can you think of a time when you ground your teeth together when you didn’t realize you were doing it? OK … that’s a bit of a trick question. How can your remember something that you didn’t know you were doing?
We only ask because millions of Americans do grind their teeth together unknowingly. You may be one of them, and our dentists want to help if you live in Marietta, Smyrna, or another part of Georgia close to our dentist office.
Teeth grinding treatments are one of the many services we offer at Atlanta West Dentistry.
Why Are You Grinding Your Teeth?
The problem of teeth grinding isn’t always as simple as it seems.
Many factors can result in your unconscious or subconscious habit. That’s right, many people who grind their teeth do it while they are asleep.
But why? According to health experts, this can be the result one or a combination of factors, such as:
◆ Alignment issues
◆ The shape of your teeth
If you visit our office, one of our dentists can examine your teeth for signs of teeth grinding. If you are doing this often, then you may be wearing down the protective enamel on your teeth.
That can cause your teeth to become more sensitive, and it can expose more vulnerable parts of your teeth to the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Teeth grinding could be part of how your body is coping with a stressful situation at home or at work.
It’s easy to say that you need to find a way to deal with stress. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple, and you usually don’t see those benefit immediately.
Some people can channel that stress into exercise, or they can learn relaxation and breathing techniques to help. Other people find that therapy or cutting back on caffeine (particularly before going to bed) can help, too.
If your teeth grinding persists, then you could develop a TMJ problem or TMJ disorder. This occurs as a result of the added pressure you place on your jaw and the surrounding tissues as a direct result of your teeth grinding. (However, we should point out that teeth grinding is just one possible factor that can lead to a TMJ disorder.)
How We Can Help
First, we need to identify the cause or causes of your teeth grinding.
You may have alignment issues that increase your risk of teeth grinding, and you may have been going through tough times that are adding to your stress at the same time.
Here are some of the things we can do to help:
If you are grinding your teeth together in your sleep, then there is an immediate need to protect your teeth from further damage.
A nightguard (a kind of mouthguard you wear while you sleep) can create a barrier between your top and bottom teeth.
It can have a secondary benefit as well if you are having TMJ issues. By shifting the resting position of your mouth, you may alleviate the pressure on your jaw.
This would typically be used in conjunction with the nightguard treatment. We don’t want to do anything unless we believe it would have a real benefit for you.
Botox treatment can help your jaw feel more relaxed, which can reduce the risk that comes with holding your jaw in a tensed position.
➤ Bite adjustments
This is not a treatment to take lightly. Many times, we can fix teeth grinding issues with nightguards.
This may be something we consider if we notice a serious alignment issue or if a nightguard is only having little or no effect on your teeth grinding and TMJ symptoms.
Your Teeth Are Worth Saving
Teeth grinding can hurt your oral health in a number of ways by weakening your teeth and damaging your jaw.
We want to help, but our dentists can only do that if you visit our office in Marietta, GA.