Teeth Grinding: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
This article provides you information on what teeth grinding is, its causes, symptoms and treatments. Follow through these chapter to learn more.
- What is Grinding?
- Symptoms of Grinding
- Causes of Grinding
- Treatment and Home Remedies
Most people are not aware that they are grinding their teeth especially during sleep. Because of continuous grinding, it causes the muscles in your face to wear down causing jaw pain, head and ear. Studies have shown that grinding of teeth could lead to TMJ disorders. Ask your partner if you he/she observes grinding in you. Also, look out for any symptoms that are listed below and you will find out soon
Why Do People Experience Teeth Grinding?
There can be many reasons for grinding of teeth. It is most closely related to stress that could be based in any reason and may cause you to grind your teeth. Sleep bruxism, which is grinding while asleep, can be because of sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, sleep paralysis etc.
You can also grind your teeth while awake and can happen in moments of stress. You are more likely to observe awake bruxism and get treatment for it.
Following some of the symptoms:
Grinding causes the teeth to wear down, the outer layer of enamel gets damaged which exposes inner layers of your teeth. This also causes sensitivity and increases chances of toothache.
- Teeth can also become chipped, flattened and broken through the action of grinding. It may also damage inside of your cheek.
- Due to the action of continuous grinding, it damages muscles in your jaw, causing lock jaw. Lock jaw prevents your mouth to be opened or closed completely.
- It also causes pain in neck, face and ear although there is nothing wring with any these parts. It is only because of the movement in muscles that causes tis pain.
- Grinding of teeth may interfere with your partner’s sleep.
- It may also cause headache and interfere with your own sleep as well.
It may also cause complications if gets severe and goes on for a very long time. It includes extreme pain in facial muscles and jaws, severe headaches and problems in temporomandibular joints just near the ear.
Causes of Teeth Grinding:
Following are some of the causes of grinding.
Stress is the most common cause of grinding. It mostly happens in sleep which is why many people are not aware that thy do it. Your partner can tell you if you grind teeth in sleep. You dentist can also observe and let you know any signs indicating grinding if he finds it.
Grinding can also be caused by missing teeth or an abnormal bite that encourages grinding.
Medications can sometimes be linked to grinding. A few psychiatric medicines, specifically a type of anti-depressant, can produce this habit as a side effect of the medication. The examples of such medicines are sertraline, paroxetine etc.
If your family have a history of grinding or as it is called bruxism, you are likely to have it as well.
You are likely to grind your teeth during sleep if you have a sleeping disorder like sleep apnea as it interferes with your breathing during sleep. Moreover, if you experience night terrors, sleep paralysis (not being able to talk or move before sleeping or after waking up), hallucinations (seeing or hearing thing while semi-conscious), talk in your sleep, kicking or punching in sleep, it is likely to cause grinding.
Grinding of Teeth in Children
It is important that we touch upon another topic. A habit which is quite common in children- grinding.
Yes, surprise surprise, it isn’t just limited to adults. Even children are subjected to this habit and that too at a very young age.
This is not easily diagnosed, because children often do it in their sleep. However it isn’t as harmful and a nuisance as adult grinding. This is because children’s teeth and jaw size actually increases rapidly in size as they grow , hence there isn’t much of a treatment plan you need to adhere to. As it’s normally said- the will eventually grow out of it as they grow older.
However, let’s look into the certain risk factors you should lookout for:
*In certain cases, the children will feel shooting pains where their teeth are coming through
*Your kids will be subjected to emotional stress and high anxiety as well in certain cases. This is a common issue when grinding goes beyond the early years of a kid’s life
* If your child is subjected to certain medical conditions, serious attention must be given. This includes conditions like cerebral palsy or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). If you also have them prescribed to certain medications for mental concerns, grinding becomes a very common side effect which helps them to cope with the situation.
When it comes to how you must combat grinding in children, it depends on a few factors:
*the amount of wear they are subjected to
*the child’s age plays an important part
*how many and kinds of symptoms are experienced
*how often they experience these symptoms
*are the needs and demands of the child are being catered to properly
The best analysis however will only be through your dentist who will analyze the current situation of the child and how best can that be catered.
Mental Health Disorders:
Certain health disorders like Parkinson’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, ADHD, GERD are associated with developing bruxism/grinding in the patients.
Grinding is most common in children. It mostly happens after their baby teeth or adult teeth appear. It generally goes away when the teeth are fully formed. If it still persists and hampers their sleep, consult your doctor soon.
Other Addictive Substances:
Use of products like tobacco and its products, caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea etc., and use of recreational drugs may cause or increase the risk of grinding in those individuals.
If you have a personality that is competitive, hyperactive and aggressive, you are more likely to grind your teeth. Similarly, it affects such children.
- If you are suffering from depression or stress, consult a therapist and take their advice on how to control your stress. They can recommend different practices to reduce stress like counselling, getting involved in activities you like e.g. exercise, yoga, meditation, painting etc.
- Your therapist may also prescribe you anti-depressant. Some medicines can help you treat bruxism/grinding. These medicines can help reduce muscle activity, hence grinding. Make sure to confirm with your doctor that the medicines you are given are not the ones contributing towards grinding.
- In order to reduce muscle movement, botox is also a known method to achieve that. There is more research needed to substantiate the benefits of botox injections in bruxism. You should consult your doctor in this case if you are likely to get this procedure.
- Certain exercises for jaw muscles can prove effective in controlling muscle movement, relaxing jaws and facial muscles as well as maintaining proper alignment. You doctor can advise on which exercises to use at home or advise you to see a physical therapist.
- If you use any medicine that may be causing grinding, see your doctor again ask them to change or replace your medicine. It is important to talk to your doctor regarding these side effects in order to avoid them.
- Avoid consuming tobacco and tobacco products, caffeinated drinks including cola, coffee, tea, chocolate etc.
- Reductive cronoplasty can help you reshape or level out the biting areas of your teeth in order to correct any abnormal bite or crooked tooth.
- Try practicing and training to avoid clenching and grinding your teeth. Mouthguards and splints can be used to help in this case. They provide a kind of cushioning that helps prevent teeth from grinding against one another. These mouthguards can be made by your dentists for your teeth structure and mouth. Some kind of mouth guard is also available over the counter, but the custom-made ones produce less strain your teeth. They also fit perfectly to your teeth and are more comfortable. These custom-made ones are also better sited to protect your teeth from damage.
Following are some home remedies for grinding
- Avoid usage of tobacco, alcohol and caffeine.
- Immerse yourself in activities that can help regulate your stress levels- stress is known to cause internal as well as external issues in the body. If you are able to involve yourself in activities that combat it, you will be able to keep your muscles relaxed for longer durations. This leads to lesser possibility of the grinding habit to kick in.
- Train your muscles to avoid clenching. Placing your tongue in between teeth can help avoid it.
- Hot towel Compress-This has proven to be one of the best ways to get instant relief. If you are clenching your jaw, create a heating pad for yourself and lie down with one side of the face on that pad for a good 10minutes or so. Then you can repeat the same thing on the other side of the face.
- Magnesium-It is considered as a super food for a reason. This wonder mineral is known to have a lot of benefits for your muscle health. It helps in the relaxation of muscles as well as your blood vessels. It is best if you add some magnesium supplements into your diet.
Teeth Grinding Can Be Treated Easily
It is important to treat grinding because you can also avoid other problems and complications like stress, teeth problems, etc. while treating grinding. It is important that you seek help from your doctor. Your dentist or doctor can help you diagnose it and may also recommend you to other specialist medical professionals if the cause is not related to your teeth.
You should see the specialists and follow up on your situation to get rid of this condition. I hope the above-mentioned information helps you make sense of the condition if you have it and guides you towards a possible solution; preferably towards an appointment with your doctor or dentist.