Do you often wake up exhausted with a pounding headache? Chances are you’re grinding your teeth. Sleep bruxism is a medical term for grinding teeth during sleep. If you’re like 25 million Americans, you may suffer from this condition and not even know it.
Occasional sleep bruxism rarely poses any health risks but if chronic it could be harmful and cause irreversible damage. Keep reading to learn more about sleep bruxism and how it’s treated.
What is Sleep Bruxism?
Sleep bruxism is a condition where you clench your jaw or gnash your teeth while sleeping. This condition is associated with disturbed sleep and other sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea. Sleep bruxism can also worsen cases of lockjaw.
People who experience stress or have anxiety are more prone to developing sleep bruxism. It can also be a side effect of some psychiatric medication. It is also believed that sleep bruxism could be hereditary.
How Do I Know If I Grind My Teeth?
Since teeth grinding happens unconsciously, you’re never aware that you’re doing it. However, a persistent headache and painful jaw could signal sleep bruxism. Oftentimes, people with the condition learn that they grind their teeth by a significant other who points out the grinding at night.
Here are a few other symptoms of sleep bruxism:
- Tired or sore jaw muscles
- Flattened, loose or chipped teeth
- Worn tooth enamel
- Increase tooth pain and sensitivity
- Sore neck and face
- Ear pain
- Dull headache that starts in the temples
- Muscle tightness
- Fatigue from poor sleep quality
If you suspect you have sleep bruxism, it’s advised that you visit a dentist or doctor. They will assess your teeth and look for signs of bruxism. Dentists like Dental on Cue will offer solutions to help you stop grinding your teeth.
Why is Sleep Bruxism Harmful?
While mild sleep bruxism doesn’t cause many complications, chronic cases result in severe damage to the teeth. Persistent teeth grinding can wear teeth down. If this happens, roots canals, implants, or dentures will be needed. In rare cases, chronic sleep bruxism can lead to hearing loss or change in facial shape.
How is Teeth Grinding Treated?
In most cases sleep bruxism is treated with a mouthguard to prevent you from grinding your teeth. In addition, your dentist might perform a dental procedure if the grinding is caused by an alignment issue.
If sleep bruxism is caused by stress, you’ll be referred to stress counseling where you’ll learn stress-reducing techniques.
Additionally, studies show that in cases where teeth grinding is related to sleep apnea, treating sleep apnea alleviates sleep bruxism.
Experts also recommend that teeth grinding sufferers cut back on caffeine, alcohol, cigarette smoking, and chocolate — these are said to intensify grinding.
Don’t Wait To Get Treated For Sleep Bruxism
If you think you have sleep bruxism, don’t hesitate to seek help from a doctor or dentist. They will provide you with solutions that will ease your pain and give you a good night’s sleep.
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