Teeth grinding or bruxism is a common problem that can occur at any age. While it is most frequently associated with stress or anxiety, it can also result in gum disease, misaligned teeth or sleep disorders. Teeth grinding typically occurs at night, and the signs can range from mild to severe.
Signs that You Grind Your Teeth While Sleeping
If you suspect that you or your child is grinding their teeth at night, look for signs and symptoms and consult your South Morang dentists to learn more.
1. Teeth Clenching
Stress and anxiety are some of the proven causes of bruxism and may lead to several serious oral health problems. When people are stressed, they tend to restrict themselves from bursting into anger, so they end up clenching their jaws.
In most cases, teeth and jaw clenching happen during their sleep, sometimes leading to a throbbing pain on the face, head or jaws when they wake up.
2. TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorder
People who often grind their teeth at night end up suffering from TMJ disorders. And conversely, clenching or grinding your teeth can make TMJ disorders worse.
TMJ disorders occur if the mechanics of the jaw joint are not working correctly. In Bruxism, the clenching action of the jaws can sometimes significantly affect how the jaw and its surrounding structures function. This can also lead to pain in the joint and muscles around the joint.
3. Increased Tooth Pain or Sensitivity
When you grind your teeth, you’ll notice that your teeth feel more sensitive to hot and cold beverages or foods. You may also feel agonizing tooth pain when you bite or chew your food. At times, you may even hear a clicking sound when you move your jaw.
4. Flattened, Fractured, Chipped or Loose Teeth
The pressure from grinding causes fractures in the teeth. These fractures can be small hairline cracks or larger chips in the tooth. The chips are usually not painful, but they make teeth sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
Worn tooth enamel often appears as a flat surface caused by the constant rubbing of the teeth together. The thinning of the enamel causes the tooth root to become sensitive to mouth activities like chewing food or gum.
When your teeth become loose because of clenching or gritting, the roots or pulp can become damaged and exposed, hence, resulting in a toothache. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to see a dentist and determine if you are suffering from bruxism.
5. Tired or Tight Jaw Muscles
The force that your jaws exert when clenching, gnashing or grinding teeth at night produces an unwarranted force and tension to the jaws and the muscles surrounding them. So when you wake up, you may experience a heavy feeling, especially on the lower area of your face.
In some cases, you may feel the pain spreading even to your temple area, giving you a dull pain in the head.
6. Ear, Neck or Face Soreness
Similarly, if you wake up with a sore neck or face, it’s possible that you’ve been grinding your teeth in your sleep. The muscles, tendons, bones and other structures of the face, head and neck are connected with each other.
For this reason, the jaw clenching or teeth grinding action that you make at night typically results in a seemingly continuous and spreading pain all over your face, head and neck. You may also experience an agonizing earache which makes you easily irritated by noise and high-pitched sounds.
7. Changes in the Fitting of the Upper and Lower Teeth
The constant rubbing as the teeth grind against each other can result in dental misalignment. In some instances, the clenching may also affect the height of the teeth, resulting in an uneven bite. When this happens, you’ll find it difficult to chew or munch on food. It may also affect how you speak.
8. Sleep Disruption
Teeth grinding can be too loud at times, making it difficult for people you sleep with to have a peaceful good night’s rest. And it can also affect your sleep.
How to Stop Teeth Grinding
If you are concerned that you may be grinding your teeth at night, there are a few things you can do to try to stop it.
- Avoid eating hard foods before bed, including candy, nuts and popcorn.
- Talk to a reliable dentist near you.
- Chew gum or eat crunchy fruits and vegetables. This can help reduce teeth grinding.
- Use a mouth guard when you sleep. This is one of the most effective ways to slow down the effects of bruxism.
- Stress can be a major cause of teeth grinding, so it’s important to find ways to relax before bed, like reading a book or watching a movie.
Teeth grinding is a common problem that can cause a lot of damage to your teeth. If you think you may be grinding your teeth at night, it’s important to see a dentist so they can assess the situation and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
Visit or book an appointment with your Smileville Dentists in South Morang today and say goodbye to teeth grinding!