You may not be aware that you are grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism). For many people, this happens during sleep. Even though you may be able to sleep through it, you may be grinding away parts of your teeth. If you continue to wear away your teeth, you may break or loosen a tooth or filling or wear down your biting edges.
Causes of teeth grinding include stress, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth. In some cases, teeth grinding is made worse by alcohol or drug abuse. Teeth grinding and clenching can cause pain and popping in your jaw joint. Other symptoms are earaches, headaches, and face pain.
Talk to your dentist about your teeth. He or she can determine what treatment is right for you. In some cases, a mouth guard or mouth splint can help protect the teeth from further damage. If stress is a cause of your grinding or clenching, your doctor may prescribe medicine to help you relax.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: August 11, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
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