May 7, 2019

Overview

Most people have experienced or know someone who has experienced teeth grinding, but it can be hard to know when you need to talk to your dentist and get help to correct this. If you’re noticing that your teeth have been worn down, or are suffering from increased joint pain, it could actually be caused by teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism. Teeth grinding is incredibly common, but not everyone is aware of the potential serious side effects that it causes. Let’s check in with the best dentist in Germantown, TN, to see what they recommend you do.

If you are grinding your teeth, Drs. Cooley or Flexsenhar might want to prescribe you a night guard. Before we go into what a night guard is and what it does, let’s get a better understanding about what teeth grinding actually is, and when it is something to be worried about.

Causes

There are a variety of causes that might lead to you grinding your teeth, but all of the causes of teeth grinding aren’t known. Here are some of the most common causes of teeth grinding:

  • Stress and anxiety. Teeth grinding can be a stress response, and often occurs at night. This can be particularly frustrating as many people who grind their teeth at night have no idea that they are doing it.
  • Medication. Certain medications list teeth grinding as a side effect, particularly SSRIs. These medicines are predominantly used to treat depression and anxiety, and include paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and fluoxetine (Prozac).
  • Sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea has been found to coincide with higher instances of teeth grinding, so if you have sleep apnea, talk to your dentist about steps you can take to alleviate your teeth grinding. In addition, if you suffer from sleep talking, sleep paralysis, or just tend to be restless at night, you may also grind your teeth at night.
  • Lifestyle factors. Factors such as drinking, smoking, and excessive caffeine intake can all lead to teeth grinding, or make it worse.

Symptoms

While worn down teeth are a symptom of teeth grinding, there are many symptoms that you might not know about. If you have even one of the below symptoms, let us know at your next appointment.

Symptoms include:

  • Facial pain
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep (for either you or your partner!)
  • Pain in the jaw joint
  • Jaw stiffness
  • New fillings or broken teeth
  • Increased sensitivity in teeth, including pain while chewing
  • Tooth mobility with healthy gums
  • Tooth loss (in extreme cases)
  • Worn enamel on the biting surface of teeth (you may notice a yellow hue with a “cupped out” look)
  • Sensitivity of teeth along the gumline with a notched out look

Even if you are unconvinced these symptoms are due to teeth grinding, they could also be symptomatic of a variety of other dental problems, including TMJ Disorders. It is important to know when to see your dentist so that you can get treated before there is any further deterioration. No need to worry, the best dentists in Germantown and Memphis are here to help!

When To See Your Dentist

See your dentist for teeth grinding if you’ve noticed increased sensitivity in your teeth, find painfulness in your jaw joint or face in general, or have any of the other above symptoms. It is a good idea to get your teeth checked out as soon as you notice it, in order to avoid irreversible consequences.

Your dentist will be able to give you instructions on treatments, and also can give advice on ways to reduce stress.

Treatments For Teeth Grinding

There are a number of treatments that your dentist will propose, but the primary one will be using a night guard to help prevent teeth grinding and restore your dental health. Below we will describe in detail what this is and how it works, as it is a common remedy that you will most likely encounter if you suffer from teeth grinding.

Other treatments your dentist might recommend include stress-relief treatments, such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing, and lifestyle changes, such as drinking less alcohol and coffee, or quitting smoking.

Sometimes an occasional muscle relaxant may be prescribed on a limited basis or botox injections recommended in extreme cases. Habit reversal techniques or cognitive behavioral therapies could be recommended in certain cases, and may prove effective in stopping teeth grinding.

In addition, you will most likely be recommended to have regular dental check ups in order to make sure there is no further damage to your teeth.

Night Guards

Night guards work by separating and evening out the pressure along your jaw and create a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. They are usually made of acrylic or BPA free plastic and shouldn’t disturb your sleep.

While it is possible to get one from your local pharmacy, most dentist’s will recommend having a custom-made night guard to fit your specific teeth. Over the counter guards tend to be too bulky and soft.  These guards can sometimes cause more harm when used. Having a custom made night guard will be the most effective because a dentist will adjust it to your teeth and bite.

Your dentist can go through your options for your night guard so that you can find the option that’s best for you.

If you grind your teeth and are worried about the effect it may have on your teeth, call us today, and come visit the best Germantown dental group.

If you would like to learn more about your treatment options for teeth grinding, please contact us today at 901-754-3117, so that you can come visit the best dentist in Germantown and Memphis, also serving other areas in the Midsouth. Dr. Cooley and Dr. Flexsenhar have years of experience and we are always looking forward to helping you with any of your dental needs! Feel free to browse through our website to see more of our cosmetic dentistry solutions, dental implants, Invisalign, porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, and more. Come visit the best cosmetic dentists in 38138, serving Germantown, TN and Memphis.