Relax, Before You Break a Tooth!
Teeth grinding might not sound like a big deal. However, if you don’t relax, you can quite literally break a tooth. Or several teeth.
Symptoms of Grinding Your Teeth
Not sure if you grind your teeth? Believe me, the symptoms will present themselves in varying degrees depending on how long and how often it happens. The symptoms of grinding your teeth mostly involve pain of some kind. Does your jaw ache on a regular basis? What about headaches? Is your neck stiff when you wake up in the morning, or after a long day of work? These telltale signs are most-likely stress-related, which can manifest itself through teeth grinding.
Going to the Dentist
Even though there are ways that you can help yourself stop grinding your teeth, it’s important to bring it up with your dentist at your next appointment. If you’re in a lot of pain, however, you might want to schedule an appointment just for this situation.
Your dentist will be able to examine your teeth and take note of any residual wear due to teeth grinding, as well as determine if there are any other medical conditions that could cause you to grind your teeth. Then you’ll be able to move forward with treatment that’s right for you.
Step-by-Step Strategies to Help
For me, this treatment involved trying to avoid breaking my teeth due to stress. At first, I didn’t really understand what it would take for me to alleviate stress. It took me awhile to figure out that low lights, hot baths and candlelight aren’t going to calm me down, but laughter does, especially if it’s the kind that comes from deep inside my belly. Find out what will work for you when it comes to taking a break – these times of relaxation will help keep you from grinding your teeth.
Another way to keep from breaking your teeth is to use a mouth guard. My dentist wanted to try and save me some money because a professionally made mouth guard was $475 and my insurance didn’t cover the cost (ironically, this made me clench my jaw in frustration). Under the advice of my dentist, I started by using an ordinary sports mouth guard at night while I slept. This didn’t work well, so I tried various over-the-counter mouth guards and cut the costs by using coupons and signing up for samples.
Unfortunately, none of these inexpensive options worked for me. I paid the money and had a custom-made night guard that I now use on a regular basis. I am happy to say that the money seems to be well-spent, since I’ve had no jaw, head or neck pain from teeth grinding since I started using my mouth guard. I now look forward to a future of unbroken teeth.