Teeth grinding, also called "bruxism," is often done unconsciously and can result in varying pains like tooth and jaw problems. Bruxism can be caused by a number of health issues, such as misaligned teeth, a sleep disorder, or stress and anxiety. But teeth grinding can have effects on different parts of your body as well. Knowing this is beneficial regardless of whether you know you're a tooth grinder or not, as it can help narrow down the cause of your discomfort.
1. Ear Pain: Though you might not always think about it, your ears rest right around your jaw area, and ear pain is often associated with jaw problems like inflammation or tenderness in the muscles. This pain will often feel like a throbbing ache deep in your ear canal, and can make you more sensitive to loud noises. This, like many other symptoms, is caused by the pressure exerted on your jaw when your teeth clench.
2. Tingling Temples: If you lie down to sleep at night and feel an annoying tingling sensation in your temples, this can also come from grinding your teeth. It isn't painful, but it is persistent, and it can last until you fall asleep or until you massage your temples. This problem often won't present itself while you are up and busy during the day, so you may not notice it immediately.
3. Headaches: Headaches from teeth grinding also come from the pressure on your jaw, and they can start in a few different areas, but they will primarily start from your temples. You can use a painkiller to ease the pain, and they will fade so long as your jaw is relaxed, but the problem may continue for as long as you grind your teeth at night.
4. Tongue and Cheek Cuts: If you don't have any jaw or tooth pain but have noticed that you frequently seem to get cuts on your tongue or the inside of your cheeks, you could still be a grinder. Your jaw may have more tolerance for pressure, or you may be exerting less pressure when you grind, but your teeth and gums will display evidence of grinding much more quickly.
5. Trouble Sleeping: Tooth grinding has been associated with various sleep disorders like sleep apnea and snoring, which can sometimes result in constant fatigue. If you've noticed these types of symptoms, you may be grinding your teeth at night.
Types of Treatments
When it comes to treating tooth grinding (which will often result in the fading of various symptoms like pain and discomfort), there are a few things you can do at home and a few tools and tips you can get from your doctor.
- Modify your diet if you're taking in a lot of caffeine and alcohol.
- Remember to keep your jaw relaxed during the day and avoid biting on things that aren't food, as this essentially trains your jaw to remain clenched.
- Ask your doctor about a mouth guard that can prevent your teeth from touching every night.
- You can also ask your dentist about the possibility of an exercise program if stress or anxiety is the cause.
Ask your dentist if there are any dental corrections you need, such as the straightening of your teeth or a tooth extraction, as uneven bites can contribute to tooth grinding.
For more information, contact Limeridge Mall Dental Office or a similar location.