Tooth grinding causes many dental problems if you’re part of the 25 percent of the population that experiences it. Most people with bruxism (tooth gnashing) don’t exhibit any immediate symptoms but show wear on their teeth and gum line that indicates the problem. Only 5 percent display painful symptoms, which vary from extreme headaches to ear, tooth or jaw pain. Many dentists recommend night guards for teeth grinding.
If you grind your teeth in the night, you may wake up with painful teeth or jaws. If there is no pain to alert you, your spouse may tell you that you grind because the noise keeps her awake or your dentist may notice signs during a dental exam. Doctors don’t agree on the origination of bruxism. Various theories link it to misalignment of the jaw, genetics, allergies or intake of caffeine, tobacco or amphetamines. Night guards prevent much of the pressure on the teeth.
Watch out for further damage. Tooth grinding often occurs in children. Sometimes bruxism goes away by the time children reach the age of 10, other times it becomes worse. The alignment of the permanent teeth dictates the difference. Those with serious malocclusion seem to be candidates for the problem. This occurs most of the time at night because it’s a subconscious neuromuscular disorder. Braces often prevent tooth grinding later in life.
Keep the TMJ joint in neutral position with a night guard fitted to your mouth. Night guards that are custom fit by Dr. Donnelly leave the temporomandibular joint in neutral position. The guard trains the joint to relax and relieves a lot of the pressure.