Having a habit is normal, but sometimes people develop habits that cause self-harm. One of these habits is grinding and clenching of the teeth–also known as bruxism. This particular habit has negative effects in the long run. Here is what can happen to teeth that are put under this wear and tear.
Grinding of the teeth can be triggered by a number of things. For many people, it is a way to cope with stress, anxiety, or nervousness. The same applies to the act of clenching teeth. The people who do this habit typically are doing it on a consistent basis, which slowly contributes to surprising problems down the road.
One of the consequences associated with grinding and clenching teeth is TMJ, a condition that affects the movement of the jaw while typically causing discomfort and pain. This occurs due to the movements/pressure caused by bruxism putting a heavy strain on the jaws. Treating TMJ may require arthroscopic surgery.
In addition to this, bruxism can lead to damaged or loosened teeth after a while. Like your jaw, these actions also stress your teeth.
If you grind your teeth at night during your sleep, one of the simplest remedies is to get a mouthguard. This will put a barrier between your teeth, protecting them from damage during the night. However, this is mostly a temporary fix and doesn’t solve what is initially causing this at night. The cause can be a number of things such as a sleeping disorder or sleep apnea. It is important to pin down the source and go from there.
At the end of the day, bruxism is a mental habit and one that can be trained to break. When you feel the need to grind your teeth, ask yourself if there is anything else you can do to have an outlet for stress/anxiety. There is nothing wrong with having a stress ball around if the situation calls for it–the key is to train your mind to pick up on a more positive, less damaging habit to cope.
We are here to help you have a healthy oral lifestyle. If you have any questions, please call our office at 479.795.1101. If you suffer from bruxism, you can explain the situation to us. From there, we will do everything we can to set you on the right track.
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