How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth, and Why You Should

man gritting his teethThink your occasional teeth-grinding habit is harmless? Think again. Though healthy teeth are completely surrounded by highly-resistant tooth enamel, the protective layer is only strong enough to take so much abuse. Grinding them together can wear down your enamel, change the shape of your teeth’s surfaces, and lead to a host of subsequent, and potentially disastrous, dental health issues. The problem with bruxism (habitual teeth-grinding) is that it often affects patients most while they sleep and are unable to consciously stop it.

Find the Reason

Stress and anxiety are among the more well-known causes of bruxism. The tension in your body can affect your jaw muscles, causing them to tighten and force your teeth to rub against each other. Dental issues can also contribute to the habit if they cause an imbalance in your bite. Crooked teeth or an asymmetrical jawbone can exhaust your jaw’s joints and muscles, leading to TMJ disorder. As your jaw tries to find a comfortable position, it can exacerbate teeth-grinding and increase your risk of irreversible dental damage. To treat bruxism, Dr. Maria or Dr. Thanasi Loukas will perform comprehensive examination to determine the cause of your condition, then prescribe an appropriate treatment to alleviate the problem.

Save Your Teeth

If you notice yourself grinding your teeth throughout the day, you may be able to take steps to stop it. For instance, placing the tip of your tongue between your anterior (front) teeth will force them to stay separated. In most cases, Dr. Loukas can prescribe a custom-made night guard designed to protect your teeth from each other while you sleep. Similar to a sports mouthguard, a night guard fits snugly and comfortably over your upper and lower teeth to prevent contact at night. Engaging in stress-relieving techniques at the end of your day, such as exercising, taking a warm bath, or reading a book, can help alleviate stress-related bruxism. If your bite is crooked, then Dr. Loukas may recommend orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth and your bite’s balance. In extreme cases, surgery may be required to correct a congenitally deformed jawbone.

About Your Park Ridge Dentists:

Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas are highly-skilled restorative, cosmetic, and implant dentists serving the Park Ridge and surrounding Chicago communities. To schedule an appointment, call Loukas General Dentistry today at (847) 696-1919.

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