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The Dangers of Teeth Grinding

Do you ever grind your teeth when you’re feeling stressed or concentrating deeply on something? Many people do, often without even realizing they’re doing it. It’s usually not a problem, but excessive teeth grinding can create serious health issues. Here are some of the dangers you may face and how to know when it’s time to see a dentist.

Recognizing The Problem

Doctors sometimes refer to grinding your teeth as bruxism. Bruxism can occur while people are awake, often when they’re feeling anxious, stressed out, tense or frustrated. But it can also occur while people are asleep, a condition known as sleep bruxism. You can suffer from sleep bruxism even if you don’t usually grind your teeth while you’re awake.

So, if you’re grinding your teeth while fast asleep, how do you know it’s happening? The warning signs to look out for include:

  • Pain in your neck or face
  • Frequent headaches or earaches
  • Increased tooth sensitivity caused by worn down enamel
  • Inability to stay asleep throughout the night
  • Chipped or loose teeth
  • TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, which causes stiffness and pain in your jaw

Without treatment, severe teeth grinding can damage your teeth, crowns or fillings and could even cause you to lose teeth.

Underlying Causes

No one knows for sure why some people experience serious bruxism. There are multiple factors that can put you at an increased risk, including:

  • High levels of stress or anxiety
  • Certain medications, including some antidepressants
  • Having another sleep disorder, particularly sleep apnea
  • Drinking a lot of caffeine or alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Issues with your bite, such as crooked or missing teeth
  • A family history of teeth grinding

Treatment Options

Because grinding your teeth can be caused by different things, there’s not a one-size fits all treatment. When it’s related to an underlying dental problem or sleep disorder, addressing that problem may take care of it. Other people may need to try different strategies to reduce their bruxism or limit the damage it causes.

Many people who grind their teeth in their sleep use a mouth guard (also called a night guard), a device similar to a retainer that fits over your top and bottom rows of teeth. You can buy one over the counter or see your dentist for a custom-fit option. Custom mouth guards will fit better and are less likely to slide off while you’re asleep.

If the problem is related to stress or anxiety, ask your dentist or doctor if they can recommend some coping techniques. Exercise, deep breathing routines, meditation and counseling have all helped people manage their stress levels.

If you tend to grind your teeth during the day, you can train yourself to be more aware of when you’re doing it. Try putting your tongue between your teeth when you catch yourself grinding them to break the habit.

Dental Solutions in an Anxiety-Free Environment

If you’re experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity that may be related to teeth grinding, LifeSmiles by Randy Mitchmore, DDS is here to help. We combine extensive experience with the latest technology to provide world-class dental solutions. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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Sally May-Frankum
Dental Hygienist

Sally’s favorite part about working with the team at LifeSmiles is the fun she has with her co-workers. Additionally, she appreciates working with Dr. Randy Mitchmore because much like her, he values whole-body health for his patients. She’s proud to be part of a team that does such high quality work.

Outside of the office: Sally enjoys being with her children and grandchildren and uses writing as a creative outlet. On the weekends, she can be found doing all things outdoors including hiking and biking.

 

Bucket List: Going to Europe, exploring every US state, and zip-lining.

Hero: The Highest Power of them all!

Toni Wilson
Queen of Charisma

 “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”

Toni’s favorite thing about working at LifeSmiles is the beautiful scenery. When patients are having anxiety about their dental appointments, she creates a fearless atmosphere with her charisma and warmth. She is passionate about helping every patient achieve their dental health goals. She says she truly loves being part of a team where she can grow professionally and personally.

Outside the office: Toni loves spending time with her husband and their sons. She also likes to show off her green thumb with her work in her garden.


Bucket list item:
Travel around the world and learn about other cultures and regions.

Your hero: Harriet Tubman because she was passionate and a fearless leader unafraid of any of life’s challenges.

Mike Mireles
Elite Care and Education Specialist

Smiling is contagious

Mike began his career at LifeSmiles seeking an opportunity to expand his skillset and advance his career. Today he works at Dr. Michmore’s side through dental procedures and surgeries. He loves working at LifeSmiles because the entire team is continually learning and keeping up to date with the newest advancements in dentistry.

Outside the office: Mike enjoys barbecuing on his patio, traveling, and spending time with his family. He’s a dog dad of two: Tati and Tito.


Bucket list item:
To visit Thailand and Dubai and to try skydiving!

Your hero: Mike looks up to his parents and is forever grateful for the life lesson they taught him; respect, manners, strength, and to be a go-getter. He continues to carry these things with him with everything he does.

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Sandra Smith
Ambassador

Sandra is 44 years old and is a star athlete for the Special Olympics. At LifeSmiles, Sandra stocks patient rooms and the coffee bar. She does all kinds of special projects like decorating for holidays and preparing awesome gifts for our patients.

Sandra loves being around all her friends and is proud to wear a LifeSmiles shirt, jacket, and name badge. You’ll always find her smiling and helping make our patients smile too.

Outside the Office: Sandra likes to go fishing with her family, swim, go to dances, and walk the mall with her friends. She is very active in the Special Olympics and won second place in the state volleyball tournament (go, Sandra!) in 2020. She sings in her church choir and attends international performances with them.

Spirit Animal: Butterfly. She likes them because they are pretty.

Andie Willis
Director of Details

Andie is married with one son, Logan and now lives in The Woodlands. She grew up in Sugar Land and has followed in her mother’s footsteps – she has been in dentistry for over 35 years. Andie actually started out working in the office with her mom and learned many things from the way she worked.

Andie has been a Lead Dental Assistant for most of her career. She has worked for many specialists including oral surgeons and periodontists. She has extensive training in all facets of dentistry but especially enjoys the surgical and cosmetic side. As a science nerd, dentistry fascinates Andie and gives her a sense of accomplishment.

At LifeSmiles, she is our “Director of Details”. Andie is known for being a perfectionist because she likes to gather as much information as possible and go the extra mile to match Dr. Mitchmore’s high standards. She truly loves being part of our dedicated team of professionals who go above and beyond for our amazing patients.

Outside of the Office: Andie is addicted to Lagree fitness and loves to go off-shore fishing.

Your Hero: Her Mom. She is the most selfless person Andie knows.

John Copous
Chief Enthusiasm Officer

John became a new patient of LifeSmiles in 2008. He likes to tell people he was not allowed to leave. John worked down the street for 14 years before joining the team. He has a passion for meeting new people and extending genuine hospitality.

Often the first person people meet on the phone and when they walk in the door, you can count on John for a warm welcoming smile. You can even ‘hear’ it over the phone. He says, “I believe everyone deserves the red carpet treatment and love seeing other people smile.”

John hears stories every day how someone’s smile is holding them back. He can barely contain his excitement when shouting the praises of Dr. Mitchmore and the entire team. He shares passionate stories of how the transformations people have received at LifeSmiles, changed their lives.

Outside the Office: John loves being outside. He enjoys sharing a beach house with friends and family. He loves entertaining, throwing a party and cooking at home. He can start a conversation with anyone, anywhere. He’s an amateur stand-up comic.

Bucket List Item: To live in a foreign country for one year, somewhere near the beach. Take some time to write an epic love novel loosely based on my large Italian family.

Your Hero: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. While fictional, the character incorporates admirable qualities from real life people. She believes in the goodness of everyone, keeps on going and moves forward despite any obstacle. She is able to find humor in other people’s quirks, accepts them and makes sense of it all. Plus, she’s a little outrageous too.