Tight facial muscles, sore neck and shoulders and a jaw joint that sounds like a creaky door opening? Your daily habit of clenching and grinding is destroying more than tooth structure as it expands its damage to include soft tissue and joints.
Why Do I Clench and Grind My Teeth?
The habit of clenching and grinding often has an emotional component – meaning the stress you’re experiencing with your job, relationship, school or finances can instigate the tightening of muscles that result in teeth being clenched shut and/or being ground down. Now you may be reading this and thinking – ‘I love my life, I have zero stress and I still grind my teeth’ – and you wouldn’t be alone. For many patients the joy of life still can’t seem to prevent the inevitable habit of nightly grinding and daytime sessions of clenching. So what’s contributing to this habit? Your bite.
Why Do Crooked Teeth Make Me Grind?
Teeth that are out of alignment and in poor arch formation frequently feel the brunt of daily grinding. In an attempt to balance a bite and reduce perceived interferences that the brain has picked up, it’s not uncommon to enter a cycle of grinding. Patients who have obvious bite concerns that include poor relationship between top and bottom arches commonly report grinding that leaves sore facial muscles, tight neck and shoulder muscles and teeth that are flattened and worn. And it’s not just natural teeth that show the signs of clenching and grinding – crowns, bridges and fillings are also weakened due to the immense force that is exerted when teeth clench and grind.
Should I Wear a Night Guard?
Our general dentists want patients to know that there are solutions available that address the habit of grinding and protect teeth from further damage. Wearing a night guard can be a viable option for patients looking for comfort and protection, as these custom fit appliances act as a shield against stressors. Correcting bite imbalances with orthodontics or restorative treatment can also make a difference in how top and bottom teeth relate to one another – and can promote less muscle tension and joint discomfort.
Clenching and grinding of teeth doesn’t have to rob you of your smile – or your sanity! Contact us today!