Bruxism: Do You Grind Your Teeth While Sleeping?

Bruxism is the chronic grinding of the teeth which gradually damages and wears down teeth, and regularly occurs as a response to stress or anxiety. Most people with sleep bruxism may not even realize that they clench their teeth. Bruxism is more common in children, but usually resolves during adolescence. This post will help you to know if you are suffering from bruxism, learn more about its signs and symptoms, causes, and provide the right treatment options.

What are the Signs and Symptoms Of Bruxism?

Mild cases of bruxism may not produce signs and symptoms. Headaches and Sore jaws are common signs and symptoms of teeth clenching, while serious cases fracture or chip teeth. Loose teeth and tooth pain may also occur.

While other signs and symptoms of bruxism include: Jaw pain, tight jaw muscles, anxiety, depression, or stress, chewing damage to the inside of the cheek, earache, facial pain, tooth sensitivity to cold or heat, worn tooth enamel, worn, and flattened teeth

Earaches that are associated with teeth grinding result from overworked jaw muscles rather than actual ear complications. Serious bruxism can damage the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), a portion of the jaw found just in front of the ear.

What are the Complications and Causes Of Bruxism?

Jaw disorders and tooth damage are the most common bruxism complications. Dental grinding has also been linked to eating disorders, depression, insomnia, and sleep disorders.

The main cause of bruxism has not been identified. However, stress and anxiety increase the risk of teeth clenching, as do anger and high frustration levels. Different stimulating substances can also trigger dental grinding, including coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and some medications also trigger bruxism.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Bruxism

The perfect way to affirm whether you’re suffering from bruxism is for your dentist to investigate possible bruxism signs and symptoms, if she sees signs of fractures, tooth wear, or tooth sensitivity during a dental exam.  Your dentist can also observe that crowns and other dental work wear down faster than they should, or can easily recognize signs of chewing on your cheeks.  In the course of your diagnosis, your dentist will ask you about alcohol and coffee consumption, and any medications you take. You will also be asked about how you sleep. X-rays may be required to identify likely jaw disorders.

If the dentist suspects that your bruxism is due to anxiety or depression, you may be referred to a therapist. You can also be referred to a sleep specialist to rule out possible sleep disorders. If stress is the main trigger for bruxism, stress management and relaxation techniques can reduce it.

If teeth grinding is due to a physical problem, such as unaligned teeth, dental work can provide relief. While corrective dental work will repair the damage caused by bruxism, however, grinding can continue, causing damage to the correct teeth.

You may need to wear a protector or splint overnight to protect your teeth from bruxism. A splint is a hard acrylic device that is placed over the lower teeth. The slats are tailor-made to fit your mouth. While mouth guards have some drawbacks as a form of treatment for bruxism. They are soft and are consumed faster than the sticks. Some people experience increased serrated teeth while wearing mouth guards or splints.

If you move your teeth, lifestyle changes can help treat the condition. Reduce stress before going to bed with a hot bath, listening to soft music or practicing relaxation techniques. Avoid caffeine and alcohol for several hours before going to sleep. Quitting smoking reduces the symptoms of bruxism and improves overall health.

If you think you can sharpen your teeth, talk to your dentist. Regular dental examinations help identify bruxism in its initial stages before damage to the teeth or jaw occurs.

How To Get The Right Help?

Dr Shalini Nair (Lawrenceville,GA) and her highly trained team are experts at diagnosing and treating bruxism. In addition, they offer dental services from routine checkups and filings, crowns to cosmetic dentistry. To schedule an appointment, please visit today!