The clenching one’s teeth or jaw stems from a larger condition called bruxism, which often causes patients symptoms of discomfort and pain. It usually occurs as patients sleep or experience stressful situations and is involuntary, therefore becoming an unknown source of soreness and irritation, as well as a harm to one’s dental health.
As you clench at night, you are exerting a very strong force onto your jaw without anything to absorb this pressure. Therefore, the force is absorbed by your teeth, causing tension headaches and migraines. If you often wake up with headaches, you could possibly be experiencing clenching. Talk to your dentist about possible solutions, such as a nightguard, to stop the pain.
As a result of the pressure caused by clenching, the soft tissue in your mouth is directly damaged. Moreover, the added pressure can cause teeth to become loose in their sockets, destroying the supporting bone.
The clenching and grinding of teeth caused by bruxism wears down the enamel, the protective layer of your teeth that guards the tooth’s root and soft tissue. As enamel wears down, the tooth’s root can become exposed. This exposure leads to increased sensitivity to hot and cold, causing pain and discomfort. Your dentist can routinely check for enamel loss.
Chipped Teeth and Fractures
Chipped and fractured teeth are also a result of clenching and grinding. Chipped teeth get in the way of a beautiful smile and could easily be prevented by a nightguard or fixed by your dentist! A more serious result of clenching, tooth fractures, make the teeth more susceptible to cavities and can cause more serious damage to your teeth and jaw.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your dentist for an appointment and consultation to get a nightguard! You may be clenching and grinding your teeth.