If you commonly experience headaches and pain in your jaw after getting a good night’s rest, you might be a teeth grinder during your sleep. Bruxism is a disorder that affects 8% of the population and poses a significant threat to the long-term health of your teeth.
You don’t want to know that all those precious dental visits went to waste, so it’s good to learn about the effects of grinding your teeth and how important it is to avoid the dangers that may arise if you don’t stop grinding your teeth.
Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?
Bruxism can be a stress-related symptom or a side effect of medications, and every individual’s diagnosis depends on multiple factors. Each patient should consider the different reasons for teeth grinding and discuss which cause may apply to them with their dentist.
Stress and Anxiety
Clenching your muscles is a common human reaction when feeling stressed, and unfortunately for our oral health, clenching and grinding our teeth is another side effect. Grinding or clenching may be a response to daytime stressors like work, family, and finances, so consider how stress and anxiety impact you.
Conditions like depression and anxiety might force you to take medications that can leave you grinding or clenching your teeth. Amphetamines and antidepressants are known for causing nighttime grinding, so read up on the medicines you take for a clearer understanding of what could be causing your bruxism.
Patients with abnormal bites commonly suffer from the effects of grinding teeth. If your upper and lower teeth don’t perfectly blend, you might promote teeth grinding and excessive clenching that damages the teeth and can lead to sleep bruxism.
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea can lead to grinding teeth and clenching. About a quarter of all people with sleep apnea suffer from sleep bruxism. When the brain picks up that your airways and upper respiratory systems are stressed or disrupted, it sends signals to compress the throat, thereby promoting teeth grinding and clenching.
Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism
While you may not be sure if you’re grinding your teeth at night or not, there are a few ways you can identify if teeth grinding is an issue for you. A few signs and symptoms of bruxism include:
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sore jaw muscles
- Pain in teeth
- Broken teeth
Dangers of Teeth Grinding
There are many dangers to grinding teeth, including the increased risk of tooth damage and additional medical disorders that require more strenuous treatment methods. Teeth grinding wears away at your enamel, and you’ll eventually need crowns and dentures to address your dental problems.
TMJ is a disorder characterized by a popping or clicking noise in your jaw that is common due to wear and tear and excessive stress on the jaw. TMJ can be extremely painful, and its symptoms may be worsened by bruxism, which could lead to emergency oral surgery or other more painful and expensive treatment methods.
How Can I Prevent Nighttime Teeth Grinding?
Preventing nighttime teeth grinding can be taken with a few preventative measures and medications. Mouthguards can help protect your teeth from the friction from grinding teeth, and taking muscle relaxers can counter the compression of your muscles. Sleeping in a comfortable and cool room on your side also helps to reduce stress and avoid promoting excessive teeth grinding.
The best way to prevent nighttime teeth grinding is to get in touch with your local dentist to address and treat your symptoms. Reach out to Center City Emergency Dentist if you feel you have any symptoms of bruxism or if you’re in need of a dental implant dentist in Philadelphia.