Grinding your teeth, or clenching your jaw, places you at an increased risk of developing serious, and potentially permanent, symptoms. While the causes of teeth grinding vary, the outcome is strikingly universal. Smile Gallery Dental Clinic specialises in correcting and treating the effects of bruxism.
What is Teeth Grinding?
For most people, grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw is an occasional occurrence. Medically referred as bruxism, this condition is when you clench your jaw tightly shut or grind your teeth. Although common, it’s likely you don’t know you’re grinding your teeth unless your sleeping partner lets you know or if you start experiencing symptoms, such as jaw pain.
While the concept of teeth grinding doesn’t seem as if it could cause serious harm, in reality, chronic bruxism results in serious teeth injury and even neck pain. Even if you grind your teeth on a rare occasion, the influence of constant pressure may result in unsavoury symptoms. At Smile Gallery Dental Clinic, we specialise in both the treatment and prevention of bruxism.
Causes and Symptoms of Bruxism
As with many acute and chronic conditions, the severity of teeth grinding and jaw clenching is caused by physical ailments or emotional wellbeing. For some of our patients, the onset and continuation of bruxism is a combination of both. In order to effectively stop this nocturnal situation, you must first be aware that it’s even happening.
The most common cause of teeth grinding is when the upper and lower jaw come together, but its fit isn’t quite right. Imperfect jaw alignment encourages subconscious jaw clenching or teeth grinding because while you’re sleeping, you’re trying to find a comfortable position. Unfortunately, this attempt to bring your comfort only delivers further pain and complications.
For some, the onset of bruxism is due to emotional stress. If you’re going through a stressful chapter in your life, such as experiencing major change, it’s not uncommon to clench or grind your teeth while sleeping. While nocturnal clenching is commonplace, should this bearing down by your jaw be caused by emotional instability, you’ll likely clench your jaw while awake, too. Known as waking bruxism, high-stress levels are always almost the cause.
While the symptoms for early onset teeth grinding are relatively mild and indistinguishable from other causes, as time goes on, what started as a small ache transforms into pervasive and radiating pain. Because of this, let’s take a few moments and explore the most common symptoms from both teeth grinding and jaw clenching.