Ever notice that when you wake up in the morning your jaw hurts? That is maybe because you grind your teeth at night. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, happens during sleep. A lot of people don't know that they have bruxism. For a better understanding, let us suppose it's a bit like sleep apnea, often someone else tells them. Therefore, probably around 10 to 15% of people will know because their partners told them that they are making noises while sleeping at night. But most of the time, it might be their dentist who had had a look in their mouth and they've seen that this wear on their teeth might be bruxism, or sometimes it might present with jaw pain as well.
What Other Problems Can Bruxism Cause?
Bruxism generally causes several problems, but a lot of people think it's normal.
· One of the very obvious effects is excessive wear on teeth or crown restorations that cover the teeth, which then fracture.
· Bruxism is also associated with overloading of muscles, so people get headaches as they wake up in the morning. Generally, that's a telltale sign: If you wake up with a lot of jaw pain or a headache soon after waking, you have got to be suspicious of bruxism.
· Temporomandibular Joint Problems: The TMJ is a small joint in front of the ear that connects the jaw to the skull. Due to bruxism, that joint can be overloaded. So you can get pain on chewing, pain on opening and closing your mouth, and clicking noises.
Spoiler Alert: Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-associated movement disorder. Individuals who clench or grind their teeth throughout sleep are much more likely to have other sleep issues, such as loud snoring and pauses in between respiration, known as sleep apnea.
Addressing bruxism is vital, and not just to alleviate the pain. Chronic tooth grinding can be a reason for loose teeth. In other times, you may grind them so much that your teeth are eventually reduced to stumps, which means that you may need crowns, root canals, implants, bridges, or dentures to deal with the trouble.
However, that’s not all, because teeth grinding also affects your jaw. Without treatment you may face problems with smiling, chewing, or biting. The appearance of your face can also change, and you may even experience hearing loss.
Are You a Night-Time Tooth Grinder?
Here's How to Tell How and Why Some People Have This Habit
The cause of sleep bruxism remains unknown. It used to be thought at first, that it was due to stress or personality disorders, but now it's known that people often inherit it and it gets worse during the times of stress. Bruxism may be related to: stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite and temporomandibular joint disorders.
Symptoms can include:
1. Dull headache
2. Sore jaw
3. Painful teeth
4. Cracked teeth
5. Loose teeth
If You Think You Have Bruxism, What Is The First Thing You Should Do?
The best place to go is to the dentist. They'll make an assessment and then treat it depending on what the problem is after diagnosing it first.
Common Treatments a Dentist Might Use
Use a Mouth Guard/ Occlusal Splint: Wearing a mouth guard, as advised via your dentist, can physically save you from grinding your teeth at night time. An occlusal splint is made as a small plastic device which fits over the teeth. It is really quite comfortable to wear and people can wear it long term. It's like a great insurance policy for protecting your teeth. Often dentists that are doing expensive or extensive dental work: crowns, bridges, veneers and implants, will make a splint to protect the tooth, so that's basically a simple thing to do which works really well. Therefore, your dentist can fit you with a mouth protector to help guard your teeth during sleep.
And if it's to do with jaw joints or headache, then there are ways of stopping yourself from clenching teeth or at least helping to get rid of the action.
Other Ways to Prevent Grinding Your Teeth
· Reduce stress: As stress may be an important aspect in teeth grinding, you need to decrease it. Find ways to reduce tension. Try seeing a counselor, start exercising or do yoga, see a massage therapist, or ask your health practitioner for different techniques that will help you relax.
· Take a warm bath before sleeping: This can also assist to relax the jaw muscle tissues.
· Avoid certain foods: Consuming or drinking anything containing caffeine, such as espresso, tea or chocolate can interfere with a peaceful night time’s sleep, and may cause bruxism to intensify. Also, avoid alcohol; despite the fact that you might imagine it's going to help you relax, it can really increase bruxism while you are sleeping.
· Keep visiting your dentist: They will screen your progress and alter your treatment as needed.
Stop Teeth Grinding And Save Your Smile!