Do I Grind My Teeth at Night?

  • Posted on: Aug 22 2018

Grinding Teeth at Night

Bruxism is a medical term for clenching, grinding or gnashing your teeth. If you do it occasionally, there’s usually no harm done. If you do it regularly, teeth grinding can cause jaw soreness and damage to your teeth.

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?

Though doctors don’t completely know why bruxism occurs, a few possible causes of teeth grinding are:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol drinking
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Depression

Grinding your teeth while asleep can be caused by:

  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
  • An abnormal bite
  • Missing or crooked teeth

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Bruxism

If you wake up with a dull headache in your temples, it could be a sign your experiencing bruxism as you sleep. Other signs and symptoms of teeth grinding in your sleep include a sore jaw, or your partner tells you that you’re clenching your jaw or gnashing your teeth as you slumber.

Other signs and symptoms of bruxism can include:

  • Flattened, fractured, or chipped teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel which exposes the deeper layers of your teeth
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Tired, cramped or tight muscles in your jaw
  • A jaw that locks or won’t fully open or close
  • Jaw, neck, or face pain or soreness
  • Earache pain, but it’s not an issue with your ear
  • Sores from chewing on the inside of your cheek
  • Disrupted sleep

What Negative Effects Can Come from Teeth Grinding?

  • Frequent Headaches: Waking up frequently with a dull headache is a tough way to start the day.
  • Tooth Damage: Some people who chronically grind their teeth experience fractured, loose, or loss of teeth. In some extreme cases, people have ground their teeth down to stumps.
  • Creates a Need for Dental Work: When tooth damage occurs, dental work is needed in the form of bridges, crowns, tooth implants, partial or full dentures, and root canal work.
  • TMD/TMJ: Problems with your jaw and its muscles are called temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Lots of people use the incorrect term known as TMJ, but that’s the name of the jaw joint. Bruxism can also affect your jaw, causing or making TMD worse and possibly changing the way your face looks.

How Can Teeth Grinding Be Treated or the Effects Minimized?

A consultation with your dentist involves a comprehensive exam and treatment plan that’s custom-made for you. Treatment for teeth grinding will depend on the cause.

The best way to protect your teeth and avoid tooth wear and damage is to wear a device known as a mouth guard. Other names for these bruxism appliances include occlusal splints, occlusal bite guards, occlusal appliances, night guards, and bite plates. Your dentist creates a custom-fitted plastic mouth piece that fits over your top or bottom teeth (or both). When you wear the appliance, it reduces jaw muscle pain and protects both your teeth and jaw joints. Typically, you’ll wear the appliance while sleeping.

If it’s stress or depression, you’ll need to have the root cause looked at. If it’s lifestyle choices like smoking, caffeine or alcohol, you’ll have to decide where you need to make changes to stop bruxism.

If you’re experiencing or suspect you’re grinding your teeth, contact our team at Concerned Dental. We offer comprehensive dental services at our convenient locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Long Island and Westchester. Our modern and friendly practice is home to a highly-qualified team of general dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, and pediatric dentists who handle all aspects of dentistry from one convenient location. To book your visit, call our office at 800.583.9285 or request an appointment today by filling out the form on this page.

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Posted in: Oral Health