Teeth Grinding

Although often not considered, teeth grinding can be a medically diagnosed condition if done excessively. It refers to the clenching of the jaw and subsequent grating back and forth of the teeth, sometimes to the point that it may hurt or cause damage; although this is rare.

People may grind their teeth for a number of reasons. When stressed it helps relieve the tension and can become a habit; the same goes for nervousness. If angry at somebody the clenching of the jaw is also common, but not usually prolonged. Sometimes when drinking alcohol the gums and mouth can become numb so grinding the teeth brings a tingly sensation.

Some dentists believe that if teeth are uneven when the mouth is closed, people are more likely to grind because they can’t get comfortable, or it may be a natural way of filling the teeth in to place. Also, during sleep people may grind their teeth during the dream state for many of the above reasons, but on a subconscious level.

Often teeth grinding occurs in young children with their “baby teeth.” Parents should not be alarmed because this first set of teeth is not permanent so no long term damage can be caused.

If teeth grinding becomes a habit, especially in adults, then it may end up causing damage. It can cause the jaw to dislodge and crack, it may speed up the wearing away of decaying teeth, or damage dental work or dentures. If you believe teeth grinding is a problem for you, then discussing the issue with your dentist may be the best option. For those that grind their teeth at night, nigh guards are often prescribed to prevent the action during sleep.



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