Tooth Grinding: Causes and Symptoms

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Tooth grinding and tooth clenching, also known among dental professionals as bruxism, is a common dental ailment. In due course, bruxism will wear down the enamel of your teeth, causing them to become extremely sensitive to even mild temperature variations in your food and drink, and even to daily activities such as brushing your teeth. Additionally, bruxism can lead to issues with your temporomandibular joint, pain in your jaw muscles, chipped teeth, and it can cause damage to your corrective dental work. 

People who clench or grind their teeth usually do so during the night while they are asleep and are completely unaware that they are doing so. The majority of the time, your dental professional will be able to see signs of bruxism during a regular dental check-up. 

If you suspect you might clench or grind your teeth during the night, listed below are some causes and symptoms that can help you more readily identify the issue.

Causes of Tooth Grinding and Clenching

Tooth Grinding: Causes and Symptoms

The primary causes of bruxism are anxiety and stress. People who are anxious or stressed throughout the day are more likely to endure the results of the stress during the night as well, which often presents itself as grinding or clenching of the jaw while the person is sleeping.

Tooth grinding, however, may also be associated with undiagnosed sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes your breathing to stop intermittently or be highly erratic while you sleep. Whether or not a special mouthguard can be used to treat bruxism caused by sleep apnea will depend on the seriousness of your condition. 

For people suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea, wearing a mouthguard without first undergoing a proper sleep study is not advised due to the fact that it could make your sleep apnea worse.

How to Tell if You Clench or Grind Your Teeth

Some of the more common symptoms that indicate bruxism include but are not limited to:

  • Your partner reports hearing a grinding sound during the night
  • You often wake up with a headache
  • You often wake up with tightness or pain in your jaw muscles
  • You notice teeth that look chipped, worn down, or flattened
  • Your corrective dental work is suddenly falling apart for no apparent reason

At McBride Dental, we want to help you and your family do everything possible to have and preserve healthy teeth and gums. By scheduling regular appointments with your California family dentist and practicing the oral care techniques we teach you, your whole family will easily maintain teeth that are healthy, strong, and effective.

The San Marcos offices of Dr. Michael McBride are staffed with reputable, professional San Diego area dentists that are ready to address any concerns you may have regarding common dental procedures, as well as preventative, cosmetic, or restorative dentistry. We also provide sedation dentistry treatments as an option for our patients with severe dental anxiety.

It is our job to help you and your family establish healthy dental habits to make sure that your teeth will always be there when you need them and your smile will always look great.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a San Marcos dentist, please give us a call at (760) 471-1003 and speak with a trained member of our dental staff today.

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