Teeth grinding – causes and treatments

Date: July 4, 2013 Richard Jones

Teeth grinding is one of the most common sleep disorders. In most people it is mild and temporary condition and does not have any consequences. But, once it becomes habitual, teeth grinders can seriously erode their teeth, hurt their jaw and disrupt their normal sleep pattern. If you wake up in the morning with a painful jaw and a headache and your teeth show signs of cracking or erosion, you need urgent help.

Finding the cause

Finding the cause of teeth grinding is a matter of eliminating all potential cause. But, the cause is often not clear. Unfortunately, unless you determine the cause and eliminate it, you will not be able to completely stop your teeth grinding.

Your dentist will eliminate potential teeth and jaw misalignment, which are among the most common causes of bruxism. If he believes that misalignment is the culprit, he will send you to a good orthodontist.

Your physician has to make sure that the drugs you are taking for some health condition are not disrupting your sleep and causing you to grind teeth. He also might suggest a change of diet and cutting sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

In most cases, the cause of teeth grinding is stress. You are in the best position to see the connection between a period of intense stress and teeth grinding. People under stress tend to grind their teeth not only during sleep but during the day as well.

Treating your bruxism

Start by protecting your teeth with a teeth guard. Finding the cause is the first and the most important step in finding the cure. Since it is not always easy and fast process, you have to make sure that you are not further damaging your teeth, by choosing the right guard, with the help of sleeping mouth guard reviews. Keep in mind that not all mouth guards are the same. Off the counter, one-size-fits-all guards are cheap and easily available in your local drugstore, but they are not very comfortable and do not last long. Good quality custom guards are made just for you, based on the impression of your jaws, and will fit perfectly, ensuring comfortable, uninterrupted sleep.

You have the choice of ordering a custom guard from your dentist, or getting one from several dental labs. Labs will make your custom guard based on the impression of your jaws that you have to make according to their instructions. The price is much better, but the quality will depend on how careful you are in making the impressions.

Biofeedback is the only currently known treatment of bruxism. It consists of a device which reacts to teeth grinding by sending a trigger signal to the brain to release the jaw muscles. Biofeedback is very effective in breaking the habit of teeth grinding. But, unless you eliminate the underlying cause, you will start grinding your teeth again.

Knowing the cause of your teeth grinding will point you towards the treatment.

Your orthodontist will make you a device that will realign misaligned teeth, if that is your problem. It might take some time, but the solution is permanent.

Eliminating alcohol and caffeine from your diet, particularly in the evening, will help you have better, uninterrupted sleep, without teeth grinding.

If some of your medication was having teeth grinding as a side effect, once your doctor finds a replacement you will stop grinding.

If you grind your teeth because you are under too much stress, you will find it the most difficult cause to eliminate. Stress is becoming such a common part of modern life that it is almost impossible to be completely free of it. Scientists found that there is a direct link between teeth grinding and cardiovascular diseases, but not because they cause each other, but because they are both caused by stress. Teeth grinding might be a sign that your heart is under stress too, so make sure to mention it to your doctor, especially if it runs in your family.

If you cannot eliminate stress from your life, find a good stress relief mechanism. Exercise, yoga, visualization, relaxation can all help at times of intense stress. Try also the power of positive thinking. Talk to friends who are more relaxed and who can laugh about things you take too seriously, especially at work. Stay away from drugs, you might find a solution to one problem by causing another.

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