Many people get headaches and don’t exactly know why. About 10 percent of the U.S. population experiences this sensation, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you’re suffering pains or migraines that seem to pop-up without cause, it may be time to go to the dentist. A significant portion of people find that teeth grinding is actually at the root of their headaches, migraines, and neck problems.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge-like structure that connects your jaw to your skull. Repeatedly clenching your teeth because of stress, or because of a nervous chewing habit, can strain the small muscles around this joint, causing your head or neck to hurt.
What Is Bruxism?
Grinding or clenching teeth is known as bruxism. It affects up to 80 percent of the population. While the cause of bruxism isn’t precisely known, doctors believe that stress plays a large part in this habit. These activities happen at night, typically when a person is sleeping, leaving them unaware of the damage that they are doing to their mouths and bodies as a whole. Grinding is a sub-conscious quirk, like nail-biting. Most people have no idea that this is happening to them while they sleep.
The Effects of Grinding
There are both short-term and long-term effects of bruxism. For the former, experiencing headaches and migraines is common. These may be felt immediately when you wake up or occur at any point in the day. They are typically present after an episode of clenching and grinding.
Facial myalgia may also develop, which is an aching jaw and pain in the facial muscles. You may also build tinnitus, experience earaches, and have pain in your sinuses. Other examples of short-term effects include:
- Stiff neck and shoulders
- Tooth wear
- Fractured teeth
- Teeth mobility
- Limited opening of the mouth
- Receding and inflamed gums
- Poor sleep quality
- Broken fillings
- Tongue scalloping
Long-term effects can be even more painful and worrisome. For one, you may develop consistent and frequent migraines, excessive facial muscle tone, or your jaw may become so dysfunctional that you develop Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. You may also notice a clicking or popping of your jaw and see substantial tooth wear and loss.
Treatments for Bruxism
There are quite a few treatments available to help with teeth grinding and clenching. The most popular and common is to use a mouth guard when you sleep. This keeps the teeth separated while you sleep, so they are unable to clench together.
The best thing to do is to visit an experienced dentist. They’re fully equipped to help you, no matter how big or small your problem is. There are a lot of different ways to treat this situation, but only a medical professional can tell you what method is right for you.
Visit a Trusted Oral Surgeon
Get relief from the side effects of teeth grinding by consulting a reputable New Jersey oral surgeon. It’s important to learn more about the underlying cause and treatment options available for your condition. A good action plan not only treats your bruxism but also helps reduce further damage to your teeth.
If you are suffering side effects from grinding your teeth, contact Dr. Nancy Herbst of Union City Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery as soon as possible. Her 25 years of practice throughout New Jersey has helped many patients of all ages with a variety of oral health problems. Her office uses only the latest cutting-edge dental technology available to ensure you have an excellent dental experience. Contact us today at (201) 601-9262 to schedule your appointment today!