Ways to prevent and treat teeth grinding
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can be painful for the grinder, cause dental issues or be warning signs of physical ailments.
According to the American Dental Association, people grind their teeth, sliding the bottom of the jaw against the top, for a variety of reasons, such as stress. Though more common in children, among adults it can be a result of tobacco use, drinking caffeinated drinks or drinking alcohol.
Though it’s not considered a dangerous condition, teeth grinding can lead to earache, headache, eating disorders or hot and cold sensitivity of the teeth. The grinding can wear down the teeth and it also can prevent your partner from sleeping.
Teeth grinding can occur any time of the day or night, often without the person’s knowledge. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, it can be more difficult to control when it occurs while the person sleeps.
Some temporary relief for the pain include hot or cold compresses; avoiding hard or chewy foods, such as nuts, steak or candy; and avoiding stimulating caffeine or alcoholic drinks after dinner.
However, these may be only temporary fixes. You may need to visit your dentist or doctor for a solution, including the following:
• Adjust medications: Bruxism can be a side effect of certain drugs. Discuss options with your doctor.
• Mold mouth guards: Since the 1930s, dentists have been able to devise guards that slip over the teeth at night that protect them from the pressure of clenching and from the possibility of breakage as they slide past one another. There’s more than one type, so your dentist will help you select the one that will work best for you based on your symptoms.
• Realign the bite: Some people may require an adjustment to the way they bite.
• Surgery: This can be a last resort for some people who have an especially difficult case.
• Perform medical tests: According to the Mayo Clinic, bruxism may be a complication of Huntington’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease.
A Los Angeles dentist can work with you to develop an individualized plan to treat your teeth grinding habits. Angie’s List contains ratings for more than 8,300 dentists in the Los Angeles area. Sign in to see which have been highly rated and come recommended by Angie’s List members.