Teeth Grinding is the habit of clenching, gnashing, and grinding one’s teeth. Though it may sound like a fairly rare condition, in truth, millions of adults and children all over the world suffer from it. Although teeth grindings exact cause is unknown, one recent study suggests that it is actually a response to increased social stress.
According to a study by Tel Aviv University researchers, anxiety experienced in social circumstances increases the risk of bruxism. The research, led by Dr. Ephraim Winocur of the Department of Oral Rehabilitation at TAU’s School of Dental Medicine and conducted by TAU doctoral student Roi Skopski in collaboration with researchers at Geha Mental Health Center, discovered that socially anxious people are likely to experience teeth grinding when interacting with others.
“This is not a dental problem, but one with clear dental consequences,” Dr. Winocur said when asked about the findings of his research. He adds that awareness can help bring the condition to light, which can in turn help psychiatrists identify clients predisposed to teeth grinding and dentists to immediately know how to treat their susceptible patients.
Teeth Grinding in Sleep
Although there’s such a condition as “awake teeth grinding”, most teeth grinding occurs at night when one is asleep. It is possible for people who experience teeth grinding during sleep to go their entire lives without knowing that they have it; however, constant headache, earache, and/or a sore jaw in the morning are some of the telltale signs of the problem. In fact, married people often learn that they have teeth grinding issues only when they are told by their partners who hear the grinding at night.
Dental Problems Brought about by teeth grinding
Chronic teeth grinding can cause fracturing, loosening, and ultimately, loss of teeth. It is also possible for the grinding to wear a person’s teeth down to stumps. Add to that, severe teeth grinding can damage the jaws, result in hearing loss, and cause or worsen Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).
Dental Solutions for Teeth Grinding
To minimize the abrasion of teeth surfaces, a dentist may create a customized bite guard or splint for the patient. Damaged teeth can be repaired with veneers or crowns, and lost teeth may be replaced with bridges, dentures, or dental implants. Dentists, however, often point out to their patients that although dental procedures are a good way to manage teeth grinding, they do not make the condition disappear.
If you suspect that you may be grinding your teeth at night, look for signs like chipped teeth or worn tooth surfaces, then have your teeth checked by a trusted dentist in Atlanta from dental practices like Buckhead Esthetic Dentistry.
Nail biters, beware: Teeth grinding is next, Science Daily, May 5, 2015
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism), Medicine.net