There are countless people all over the world who resort to tooth grinding when they are feeling frustrated, or when they want to suppress negative emotions such as anger and fear; to some, grinding of teeth is such a normal daily occurrence that they do not think of the possible adverse consequences that their tooth grinding can have on their dental health.
Excessive teeth grinding can cause premature wearing down of the teeth surfaces, which can in turn lead to serious tooth damage if left untreated for a long time. The outer surface of the teeth can be worn down in such a way that the more sensitive inner structure can be exposed, causing a lot of pain and discomfort for the patient. Tooth grinding, also called bruxism, can also lead to problems concerning the jaw joint, since the pressure from too much teeth grinding can lead to jaw joint injury.
What Triggers Tooth Grinding?
Stress – Most people find themselves unconsciously grinding their teeth when they feel that they are under a lot of stress, not knowing that the tooth grinding activity can cause serious problems to their teeth, and to their jaw joints. People who feel stressed may also unconsciously grind their teeth even when they are asleep.
Suppressed Emotions – Teeth grinding can be a way of expressing suppressed emotions, such as anger of frustration, for some people. Instead of letting others know what they are feeling, some people resort to grinding their teeth to deal with their pent up emotions.
Improper Teeth Alignment – Improperly aligned teeth may cause the upper and lower teeth to grind involuntarily against each other.
Medications – Certain drugs or medications, such as those that are used in the treatment of depression, may cause a person to have involuntary teeth grinding.
Treatment for Tooth Grinding
Mouthguards – Mouthguards are dental appliances that are custom-made to fit comfortably over the upper or lower teeth, preventing the upper and lower teeth from coming into contact with each other when the teeth are ground together. Mouthguards that are custom made are more recommended compared to those what can readily be bought, since the comfort and fit will be far superior.
Stress Management – Management of stress can alleviate the symptoms of teeth grinding, as stress is one of the leading causes of teeth grinding. Stress management can include counseling, and may be combined with relaxation exercises that will help the patient in dealing with the stress in a more positive manner. A positive outlook is encouraged with stress management, so that pent up emotions and other negative feelings can be dealt with without harming the teeth or jaw joints.
Dental Surgery – Dental surgery may be needed to restore the form and function of teeth that have been worn out due to excessive tooth grinding. Dental crowns, overlays, dental fillings, and other dental reconstructive procedures and treatments can effectively repair the damage to the surfaces of the teeth, which have been caused by excessive and repetitive tooth grinding.