Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"If I grind my teeth does it mean that something is wrong with my jaw?"
I definitely grind my teeth because my boyfriend says he can hear me doing it night and has to wake me up. Does that mean something is wrong with my jaw?
Bruxism is the medical term to describe clenching or grinding of the teeth. People who have bruxism may unconscioulsy clench their teeth during the day or grind their teeth at nighttime. The latter form, which are the symptoms you are describing is sleep bruxism. It can be quite mild and may not require treatment, but in some people it can be severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, damaged teeth, headaches and other more serious problems. You should talk to your dentist about evaluating your teeth. The causes of bruxism are not known but certain factors may increase your risk for it. These factors include stress and certain substances like tobacco, caffeinated beverages or alcohol and illegal drugs such as metamphetamines. Other causes include suppressed anger or frustration, response to pain from an earache and an unknown side effect from some psychiatric medications like antidepressants. In most cases, bruxism does not cause serious complications, but severe bruxism can lead to certain complications. These include damage to teeth or jaw, tension-type headaches, facial pain and problems with your jaw. It is not possible for you to receive a diagnosis without being evaluated by a doctor. I strongly advise you consult your physician / dentist in person. Your dentist can evaluate your situation and can fit you with a mouth guard if he or she sees fit. In the meantime, I would recommend avoiding or cutting back on drinks with caffeine and trying to relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth over your jaw at night.
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