Friday, April 08, 2011

Guard as in Mouth Guard

I started noticing my bite felt different a few months ago while I was eating. While chewing, my teeth on one side seemed to meet before the teeth on the other side. The teeth on the other side never really seemed to meet which made it difficult to chew properly. A routine visit to my dentist revealed that I had started grinding my teeth in my sleep. According to him, I've ground my teeth hard enough to chip one tooth and make another almost smooth. Hence, the bite issues when I eat. He said teeth grinding is known as bruxism and told me I would need to start wearing a mouth guard at night. I have yet to purchase one but know I need to since my gums now have a constant slight ache.

Bruxism is commonly linked to missing or crooked teeth, suppressed anger, stress, and anxiety.  My overall bite hasn't really changed over the years despite having my wisdom teeth removed about 10 years ago. I'm fairly certain that mine is caused from suppressed anger, stress and anxiety. Other than wearing a mouth guard at night, I'm not quite sure how to address this. I tend to internalize my feelings and this is not something that can be solved overnight. After doing some research, it seems there is very little I can do to stop the teeth grinding quickly. Articles that address the emotional causes of bruxism are few and far between. An Australian site recommended regular exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, stress management or relaxation therapy. I already exercise regularly so stress management seems to be the logical next step. Stress management is not something I practice regularly and I'm not particularly good at relaxing either. I would love to hear some ideas about how you manage stress.


Marie Anne said...

I don't, not very well. My stress manifests in other ways, though, and I don't believe I grind my teeth at night. That sure sounds better than throwing things, though.

Tamara McRill said...

I also grind my teeth in my sleep and so can sympathize with the aching gums. Don't know why I do it though. I get stressed sometimes, but not usually for a prolonged amount of time.