What are the consequences of teeth grinding and can it be treated? We live in an increasingly stressful world, and as a dentist in Kelowna, I am seeing a growing number of patients suffering from stress or anxiety-related teeth clenching and/or grinding (bruxism). If you’ve ever woken up with a tight jaw joint (TMJ), sore head or neck muscles, or aching teeth, there is a good possibility you may be grinding your teeth while sleeping.
If this happens for a prolonged period, there can be negative consequences for the mouth, teeth, and jaw. Not only will bruxism cause one’s teeth to wear down at a significantly higher rate, it can also lead to a more rapid breakdown of existing dental work, as well as stressing and straining the muscles of the jaw.
One can try to minimize the grinding by reducing stress – engaging in a number of stress reducing activities like exercising, stress counseling, or leaving the kids with the grand-parents. One can also practice relaxation activities such as yoga or massage.
As a dentist, I can assess tooth wear patterns as well as TMJ symptoms and recommend appropriate treatments. Oftentimes, this can be as simple as a minor bite adjustment or a non-invasive treatment like wearing a bruxism appliance (nightguard) to protect the teeth and reduce further strain on the jaw. If you suspect you are suffering from bruxism, contact us to assess your individual condition.