Grinding your teeth can cause a lot of problems. In addition to inflicting damage to your teeth, it can also lead to headaches and jaw aches that can make you feel miserable. If you've been grinding your teeth for a while and haven't been able to make it stop, there's a chance that it isn't anything you're doing that's to blame. It may be the shape and size of your teeth and jaw. Here's what you should know about this issue and how to get it fixed.
When a Jaw Is Aligned
Humans' upper and lower teeth are designed to work in unison with each other as well as the joint that controls the upper and lower jaw, the temporomandibular joint. When a jaw is normally aligned and teeth are straight, if you close your mouth, there's an even amount of pressure distributed across all of your teeth. Each tooth absorbs a little pressure, without overwhelming a single part of the jaw or the temporomandibular joint itself. This ensures that whether or not you're chewing, your jaw will be comfortable and not painful in the slightest.
When It Isn't
Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with perfectly aligned teeth and jaws. Having crooked teeth means that some teeth will stand taller than others, resulting in them absorbing more pressure. This can cause discomfort in your jaw and even benign bony growths called mandibular tori.
To make matters worse, if your jaw is crooked, the pain and problems can intensify. When the lower and upper jaw don't line up properly or one is shorter than the other, it puts excess strain on the teeth as well as the temporomandibular joints. This can lead to the joints becoming stiff, locking up, and in the long term, even developing arthritis.
How To Get Help
The good news here is that help is entirely possible. If your teeth or jaw alignment are to blame for your teeth grinding problems, braces can be a big help. Braces can straighten your teeth and move your jaw to a more proper alignment, taking the constant pressure off of both your teeth and the jaw joints.
Choosing invisible braces may be an even better choice for you. In addition to having cosmetic advantages, invisible braces wrap over the surface of teeth. This means that if you continue to grind during your treatment, your teeth will be protected from further enamel damage and blunting.
Teeth grinding isn't always due to stress or bad habits. In some cases, it's more a matter of the physical state of your teeth and jaw. If you're seeking help for this problem, talk to an orthodontist to learn more.