How Clenching Your Teeth Can Damage Your Jaw
Posted on 12/21/2020 by Malmquist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
|Teeth grinding and clenching, known as bruxism, is a very common habit. It is estimated that up to one third of adults grind their teeth or clench their jaws while awake, and about one in ten adults do it while they are asleep. Bruxism can be very harmful to your teeth and jaw, so it is important to determine what is causing your teeth clenching in order to find a way to stop.
What Teeth Clenching Does to Your Jaw
In addition to wearing down your teeth, making them more vulnerable to decay, and damaging orthodontic or restorative work, clenching your teeth also has numerous consequences for your jaw. It can cause jaw pain and soreness, jawbone deterioration, and TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders occur when the joints connecting your jaw to your skull, or the nerves and muscles nearby, become irritated or damaged. TMJ causes many uncomfortable symptoms, including jaw pain, neck and shoulder aches, tension headaches, ear pain, tinnitus, and fatigue.
Why Am I Clenching My Teeth?
Bruxism does not always have one specific cause. For many people, teeth grinding, and clenching is the result of stress and anxiety. Other people do it without even realizing it, such as when they are driving, looking at their phones, or concentrating deeply on tasks. Still others might clench their teeth due to misaligned teeth or an uneven jaw. When it comes to grinding your teeth at night, it is even more difficult to determine a root cause. Our office can examine your mouth to determine what might be causing your bruxism and develop the treatment plan that is right for you.
How Can I Stop Clenching My Teeth?
Once we figure out why you clench your teeth, we can develop the appropriate treatment plan. If you grind your teeth at night or subconsciously during the day, we can fit you for a custom mouth guard to help curb the habit and protect your teeth and jaw. For patients with an uneven jaw or other bite issues, orthodontics or surgery might be necessary, depending on the specific issue. If stress is the culprit behind your bruxism, you should talk to your primary care doctor about anxiety medication and stress relief techniques. Call our office today to learn more about bruxism and how to protect your jaw.