It’s a Grind: Signs, Symptoms and Solutions for Dental Grinding

Tooth grinding can cause serious problems to your teeth.

Understanding tooth grinding Milwaukee...

Clenching and grinding your teeth (also called “bruxism”) is very common among people who feel stress in their life, and often they aren’t even aware that it’s happening.

When left untreated, consistent dental grinding over time can do serious damage to your teeth. If you suspect that you have been bruxing - or tooth grinding - you’ll want to be sure and read this article for tips and resources to help you take better care of your teeth.

Telltale Signs of Tooth Grinding: How to Tell if You’re Grinding Your Teeth

Tooth grinding or teeth grinding usually occurs when people are sleeping, and is generally considered to be associated with stress or anxiety. Strangely, a person can grind his or her teeth all night long, and wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and have no recollection of the grinding activity from the night before!

However, there are several signs and symptoms that can tip you off if you suspect that you have been grinding your teeth:

Your Spouse Complains. If you have a partner, more often than not that person will tell you that you’re grinding at night. We regularly hear people say things like, “I sleep in the other room because my husband or wife grinds their teeth at night and it keeps me up.”

Now that’s some intense tooth grinding! If your spouse mentions that your bruxism keeps them awake at night, be sure to take preventative steps immediately (read on for prevention, below).

You Wake Up with Headaches or Muscle Soreness. Since grinding involves intense contraction of your facial muscles, routine grinders often wake up with dull headaches. In fact, Dr. Cigno just got trained in a new technology that actually uses Botox facial injections in the temple and cheeks to help relax the muscles and prevent grinding. Dr. Cigno actually had the procedure done to himself by a student in the class and was surprised that it was not at all uncomfortable (that’s a big deal coming from such a baby like him!).

You Have Cracked Teeth, Premature Wrinkles and Changes in Your Facial Structure. Yes, you read correctly... persistent grinding can actually shift your facial structure and even cause wrinkles in your skin. Perhaps the most obvious symptom of grinding is fractures or cracks in the teeth, which occur after so much pressure is put on them for so long.

Patients who let grinding go for years untreated wear down their teeth, causing their face to slowly collapse. The teeth are an important part of the facial structure, and when they begin to wear away, the face begins to lose its original form.

Eventually, people with untreated grinding will be faced with full mouth reconstruction. This is a long process that involves building up the teeth bit by bit to their original levels so the facial structure can remain in tact.

Treating Bruxism or Milwaukee Teeth Grinding
The good news is, once you know you’re grinding your teeth, there is an affordable and simple solution: wearing a mouth guard nightly when you go to sleep can prevent symptoms listed above.

Why? Because when you put a mouth guard in place, it naturally opens your bite. For a moment, think of the distance between the tip of your nose and the tip of your chin. When that distance is not properly balanced, or when the distance gets smaller due to tooth wear, the muscles become strained and go into “micro spasm.” This is when facial pain and headaches (and occasionally migraines) come into play.

Opening the bite a few millimeters to account for the wear can place the muscles back into proper balance and relieve spasms and clenching or grinding.

Earlier this year a wonderful lady named Coleen came into the office for a routine cleaning, complaining of constant headaches and ringing in her ears. Out of concern, she had visited an E.N.T. who told her they saw nothing wrong, which lead her to worry that she might have a brain tumor. That very same week she was scheduled to see another doctor to look for a brain tumor.

After listening to her concerns, I asked if I could look at her since she was describing some of the symptoms of severe bruxism. We soon discovered that Coleen was suffering from a collapsed bite due to extreme teeth grinding, which she never even suspected.

Her symptoms immediately improved when we opened her bite with an occlusal guard (night guard). She was incredibly relieved that there was no brain tumor (as were we!) and she now happily enjoys her time with her grandchildren.

Do you suspect that you may be grinding your teeth? We would be happy to set you up with a complimentary consultation with Dr. Cigno and his team. If we discover that you have been grinding your teeth, we can even make a custom mouth guard for you right here in our office. Call us today at (414) 377-4604 to set up an appointment today.

PSST! Hey, Packers fans – want to show your support for the team? Every Tuesday and Thursday in September our office will be decked out in Packer gear. You’re invited to our tailgate parties on September 3rd, 14th and 28th. All you have to do is come on by the office! We’ll provide the hot dogs, chips and sodas – no RSVP necessary!

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