There are several reasons people grind their teeth (bruxism):
Teeth grinding can be both a symptom and a cause in the cases of TMD and bite misalignment. You might grind your teeth because your bite is misaligned or if you suffer a misalignment of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Sometimes teeth grinding is caused by stress or other factors, and this could cause the bite or the TMJ to become misaligned. Whichever the case, preventing the teeth from grinding can alleviate some of the symptoms common to TMJ as will treating misalignments to reduce teeth grinding.
Often, teeth grinding occurs at night, while you are sleeping. One effective treatment to help stop teeth grinding and clenching is a custom-made mouth guard worn at night. This mouth guard fits your mouth so that it can accommodate your bite without causing further problems. Wearing it at night prevents damage to the teeth that grinding can cause, keeping your teeth strong and healthy.
If the root cause of your teeth grinding is due to stress, you may find relief through using relaxation techniques. If you do experience headaches or other discomfort due to teeth grinding related to TMD, over the counter analgesics, application of heat, or even massage can help alleviate these uncomfortable symptoms.
If you suspect you are grinding or clenching your teeth, and would like a thorough diagnosis of the cause, please contact Saint Paul, MN TMJ Dentistry to schedule an appointment.