It is not unusual for our patients at Bell Harbour Dental to grind their teeth occasionally. Grinding of the teeth, or bruxism, generally will not harm your teeth, but it will cause damage eventually if you grind them regularly.
When this occurs, several serious health complications are likely and can become problematic to your oral health.
Why Do Dental Patients Grind Their Teeth at Night?
Tooth grinding often occurs at night because of anxiety, stress, bite abnormalities or from a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, which is why most patients are unaware of the issues until a family member notices it.
A dental examination allows dentists to observe wear and tear. Talking to your dentist about symptoms like headaches or jaw pain will also lead to a proper diagnosis.
Patients who experience chronic bruxism also have tooth fractures or loose or lost teeth. Teeth in this condition will likely need implants, crowns, bridges and root canals because of enamel damage.
Long-term avoidance of medical intervention also leads to jaw joint or denture disorders that will have a devastating effect on your physical and emotional well-being. Here are three of the best ways to stop grinding your teeth at night.
1. Use a Mouth Guard or Splint
Mouth guards or splints reduce the pressure on the jaw and prevent your upper and lower teeth from touching. It also reduces the grinding noise as well. Mouth guards are made of plastic or rubber which a dentist will fit for you. Local stores also sell them, but these won’t work as well as custom-made products.
Mouth splints are constructed of hard plastic to alleviate tooth damage and pain. A splint fits snugly over the teeth as it is customized to a patient’s bite plane requirements. This method is just as effective as mouth guards.
However, they are made of better material which will last longer than the mouth guard.
2. Try Yoga If Stressed Out
Did you know that bruxism often occurs because of stress? Were you also aware that there are yoga poses that help reduce your stress levels and relieve grinding? Here are some poses to try:
- Virabhadrasana II (warrior pose): Start in Tadasana (mountain pose). Space your feet three to four feet apart with your arms extended out to the side of the body. Place the left leg out behind you and stretch the right leg out in front of you with the knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Ensure your legs are aligned. Facing forward, spread your arms as far as possible with your right hand pointing in front of you and your left hand pointing directly behind you. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for up to one minute.
- Setu bandhasana (bridge pose): Lie on your back. Bend your knees to where they align with your feet. Place your arms alongside the body. Lift your lower back upward. Roll the shoulders until the chest and chin touch. Clasp your hands together underneath you. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for up to one minute.
3. Teach Your Jaw to Relax
Practicing facial expressions will reduce the damage to your bite. Practice sticking out your tongue so the jaw can relax without clenching up. Massage the face as well to relax. Also, introduce warm towels to the jaw area at night.
It is important to consult with a dentist about teeth grinding and other dental care issues as it is vital to know the cause so that you have the right method of prevention. Relaxation and prevention will do wonders.