In dentistry, teeth grinding and clenching is something referred to as bruxism. Bruxism is a condition that can lead to damage of the teeth, pain, and other problems, yet it is a condition many people leave untreated. If you want to protect your teeth, you may want to find out more about this condition.
Why it occurs
There are potential ideas and theories about why people grind and clench their teeth; however, there is no definite reason that fully explains why this happens. One theory is that people grind their teeth from stress. Experts believe that the body and brain often respond to stress by grinding and clenching, and this primarily happens subconsciously while people are sleeping. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a condition of the jaw, and many experts believe that people grind and clench as a result of this disorder too. There may be other reasons that this happens, but in most cases, people do not even realize they are doing it.
How can a dentist tell if you have it
It often comes as a shock to people when their dentist tells them that he or she suspects grinding and clenching, and this again is because people do not usually know they do these things. A dentist can often tell, though, just by looking inside a person's mouth for signs. One sign that you grind your teeth is worn-down teeth. If your teeth appear worn down, it likely is from grinding them repeatedly for months or years. Another sign is unexplainable cracks in teeth. Grinding your teeth a lot can lead to cracks forming.
What you can do to stop doing it and protect your teeth from the effects it has
If you find out that you are grinding and clenching, your dentist might recommend using a mouth guard while you sleep. The use of a mouth guard does not make you stop clenching your jaw, but it does minimize the damage your teeth can experience when you grind them repeatedly. Another option is to treat your TMJ, if this is the cause of your grinding. If you have TMJ and are not treating it, you will have a higher chance of damaging your teeth from grinding. One way to treat TMJ is through physical therapy, but there are other methods too.
Many people grind and clench without evening knowing they do it. If you would like more information about this topic, talk to a dental services provider today.