Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is caused by stress in nearly 70% of people, according to studies reported by the Mayo Health Clinic. The remaining cases of bruxism are closely linked to abnormal bites or crooked or missing teeth. Other factors can also contribute to teeth grinding, such as chronic alcohol consumption, smoking, and the use of recreational drugs.
Before you attribute your bruxism to stress, carefully evaluate your lifestyle and overall health condition. Bruxism can also present itself as a symptom of an underlying disorder such as sleep apnea, which would need to be addressed by our office first and foremost.
If you or your partner has determined that you grind your teeth at night, seek the opinion of Dr. Rhonda Savage and our team at Uptown Dental Care Gig Harbor in order to get a proper evaluation of any damage to your teeth that may be occurring, as well as a diagnosis of the primary cause. Simple treatment options, such as a custom-fit night guard, can help prevent damage to your dentition due to teeth grinding. The ability of night guards to reduce the negative dental health effects of teeth grinding at night shouldn't be underestimated, and Dr. Savage can help you with this!
You can also take control of the situation by implementing certain lifestyle changes. Reduce or discontinue alcohol use in the evening. Alcohol is a depressant. If you must drink alcohol, try not to indulge in the three or four hours leading up to your bedtime. In the hours before you go to sleep, turn down the lights and music or television volume. It is helpful to reduce the amount of stimuli so our bodies wind down at the end of the day.
Try not to focus on your teeth grinding. The more you worry about it, the more tense you may become, and exacerbate the problem. Instead, as you fall asleep, experiment with visualization techniques that will relax you and make you feel safe and happy. For example, you may conjure up a picture in your mind of yourself on a deserted beach with the wind gently blowing through palm trees. Your happy place will be unique, but once you find it, it will be easier and easier to return to each night.
Teeth grinding is very treatable. Together with Dr. Savage and our team, we can help treat your bruxism and have you back to sleeping soundly once again. Contact our Gig Harbor office today!