Over 60 million Americans grind their teeth at night. Grinding, gnashing, or clenching your teeth is a condition known as bruxism.
Most of the time, we are doing this while we sleep and are completely unaware of it, which is known as sleep bruxism. This type of bruxism is considered a sleep-related disorder, and usually a patient suffers from other types of sleep disorders like snoring or sleep apnea.
If You’re Waking Up Angry, It May Not Be Your Fault!
People who suffer from bruxism can often wake up with headaches, jaw pain, and in extreme cases, damaged teeth. Usually people are unaware they may be grinding or clenching their teeth while they sleep until their symptoms develop more heavily.
Symptoms of bruxism can include
- increasing tooth sensitivity
- tight jaw muscles
- dull headaches, usually around your temples
- jaw and facial pain
- teeth that have become fractured, chipped, or even loose
There isn’t a known cause for bruxism, but it’s been thought that physical or psychological causes can trigger it.
Some of those issues can be
- anxiety, stress, anger, and tension
- aggressive or hyperactive personality type
- responses to toothaches or earaches
- sleep apnea conditions
There are a few factors that can increase your risk of bruxism as well: things like stress, age, smoking, and drinking.
If you’ve noticed some of these issues, you should consider making an appointment to see your dental provider. Sometimes, if symptoms are left untreated, it can lead to other problems down the road.
We Are Here to Help!
There are a few things to keep in mind when you consult with your dentist regarding a bruxism issue. We recommend writing down your questions and the possible conditions that can be causing this issue.
Your dentist will examine you for signs of bruxism—this may include X-rays—and then suggest a treatment to correct the issue. Your dentist may suggest that you wear a splint or mouthguard at night to preserve or improve your teeth.
Mouthguards: These are designed to help separate your teeth at night and avoid further damage caused by clenching and grinding while you sleep. They can be constructed of acrylic, which is usually hard, or a soft material that would fit over your lower or upper teeth.
Dental correction: In some cases, teeth can be improperly aligned and cause bruxism. In this situation, your dental provider would suggest a treatment plan to correct the problem.
In our office, we offer a newly designed—kind of top secret—device (patent pending) that has been extremely effective and comfortable for our patients who are suffering from bruxism!
Call us today to schedule an appointment if you think you may be suffering from bruxism and need some relief!