Do you wake up in the morning with a headache or a sore jaw?  Are your teeth sensitive to cold?  If so, you may be suffering from bruxism, also known as grinding or clenching.  Bruxism can happen at any time of the day or night.  It’s usually a subconscious behavior that can be induced by stress and anxiety.  Most people unknowingly grind or clench their teeth and produce a bite force that can range from 100 to 600 pounds per square inch!  This incredible force can cause various dental problems.

Some symptoms or problems caused by bruxism:

  • Premature wearing or breaking of your teeth: Constant grinding and clenching will eventually wear down your teeth, making them short and flat.  The extreme pressure of clenching may create fractures or cracks in your teeth or fillings, which will eventually cause them to break or chip.
  • Extremely sensitive teeth: Over time bruxism can wear away the enamel (the harder outer layer) of your teeth, which exposes the dentin (the softer inner layer). This makes your teeth very sensitive to cold or pressure.  The back and forth motion of grinding can also cause your teeth to fracture at the gum line, leaving an extremely sensitive notch.  As these notches get larger your gum tissue recedes, making your teeth even more sensitive. Also, food gets caught in the notches, causing decay.
  • Sore muscles, headaches, earaches, and TMJ problems: Grinding and clenching occurs when the muscles in your cheek and temple are constantly contracting.  This action brings your teeth together at extreme pressures.  When these muscles get overused, you may feel pain in your cheeks when you wake up in the morning.  You may also experience headaches or earaches because the TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint), which connects your skull to your lower jaw, is getting compressed by these muscles.  This causes reduced blood circulation and soreness, which you may notice whentalking or chewing your food.

If you suffer from bruxism, you should definitely have Drs. Horsley and Walker evaluate your condition.  Often, a custom night guard can alleviate the pain you are experiencing.  Night guards in Farmersville and Van Alstyne, Texas, are made from acrylics and/or plastics, and they are fitted and placed on the upper or lower teeth.  They act as a buffer that absorbs most of the bite force.  This will protect your teeth from further wear and tear.  Some people use over-the-counter night guards, but if these guards are not fitted properly they can alter your bite, jaw position, and teeth. This will exacerbate your bruxism and make your condition worse. We invite you to visit Harvest Dental or call 469-812-7100 to gain your best night’s sleep.