Have you ever woken up in the morning with inexplicably aching jaws or a tension headache? Does this happen frequently? If so, you may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from bruxism. This phenomenon causes you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth back and forth while you sleep or even unconsciously during the day. While teeth grinding may not sound like a big deal (after all, everyone clenches their jaws once in a while, right?) it can result in damaged teeth and chronic pain.
1. Teeth Grinding is Usually Caused by Stress
Humans evolved the stress response, which is characterized by tensed muscles among other things, as a way to quickly deal with life-threatening situations. However, most people today deal with chronic stress (like the kind stemming from work life and family life) rather than acute stress (like the kind experienced when you’re being stalked by a man-eating predator). However, the body does not distinguish between different types of stress. Thus, chronic stress sufferers experience tensed muscles, often in the jaw, for extended periods of time.
2. Teeth Grinding Can Severely Damage Your Teeth
Imagine a rock worn smooth by persistent contact with the ocean’s waves. No imagine two rocks grinding against each other; that’s what it’s like when your teeth grind against each other. Over time, this grinding motion wears away the tooth enamel, leaving the teeth looking short and flat, and exposing the sensitive dentin layer below. Often, people with severely worn teeth must have dental crowns placed to save their teeth.
3. Teeth Grinding Can Lead to TMJ Disorder
All that excessive strain on the muscles, tendons, and bones of the jaw can lead to the development of TMJ disorder, a painful jaw dysfunction that causes jaw, neck, and head pain, ringing ears, popping/locking jaw, and even migraines.
ABOUT YOUR DALLAS, TX GENERAL DENTIST:
Dallas TX dentist, Dr. Diep Truong, DDS offers a comfortable dental care employing the latest in cutting-edge dental technology. We strive to make sure our patients in Dallas and Richardson have access to innovative preventive, cosmetic, and restorative procedures. To schedule an appointment, call Viva Dental Family Dentistry at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson).