No matter how often you care for your teeth during the day, you might be ruining them overnight or during your sleep. It’s very common for people to grind their teeth or clench their jaws without even realizing it, this is known as bruxism.
Bruxism, over time, can wear on your mouth causing permanent damage if you do not adequately address the situation. Here’s how you can identify bruxism symptoms, learn what can trigger it, and provide information on bruxism solutions.
Bruxism: How You Harm Your Teeth Without Realizing It
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a technical term for teeth clenching, grinding, or better known as “lockjaw.” About 8-10% of the population are dealing with this condition. This can happen at any time of the day, and it doesn’t matter if you’re awake or asleep! Bruxism in children does occur, but it is most common in adults 25-44 years old.
This condition can be classified into two categories, awake bruxism and sleep bruxism.
Awake bruxism is characterized by the involuntary jaw bracing and teeth clenching in reaction to specific stimuli. Sleep Bruxism is a sleep-related movement disorder. People who grind or clench their teeth (brux) while sleeping are more likely to have other sleep disorders like snoring or sleep apnea.
What Causes It?
Most people grind their teeth for reasons like stress and anxiety. It is one of the many ways that our body manifests our stress physically. This can happen anytime during the day or while you’re asleep. You may not even realize you have bruxism until complications rise to the surface. The next time you are faced with a high-stressed situation, pay attention to what your body does physically.
Other factors that may induce your chances of developing bruxism include substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, caffeine), bite and alignment issues, and sleep apnea.
Do I Have Bruxism?
A telltale way to know if you suffer from bruxism is waking up with a tight jaw or sore mouth. You may also notice that your teeth are beginning to wear down in odd patterns. The changes you experience may not be apparent at first since most people grind the teeth that aren’t very visible like molars.
If you and a loved one share a bed, that person might be able to assist you in determining if you grind your teeth at night. Although it may not be loud enough to wake you up, it can be loud enough for your partner to notice.
If you find yourself dealing with constant ear aches or headaches, you may be experiencing one of the key symptoms to this condition. Other signs of bruxism include:
- Loose, chipped, flattened or fractured teeth
- Worn down enamel that exposes deeper layers of your teeth
- Increase tooth sensitivity
- Tight or tired jaw muscles
- Sleep disruption
Solution: Professionally Crafted Mouth Guard
The most convenient choice of all bruxism solutions is a professionally made mouth guard. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, speak with your dentist about crafting a custom fitted mouth guard. This will be worn during sleep and will prevent your teeth from scraping against each other.
Although this approach may stop the symptoms of bruxism, it is not a full cure of the underlying issues causing this condition. Your dentist may recommend visiting a sleep specialist, who is more likely to test and understand other sleep-related issues. If your form of bruxism is related to stress or anxiety, conversing with a therapist might help your issues and create long-term benefits.
Where to Find the Help You Need
If you’re searching for a knowledgeable dentist who can help with bruxism treatment or other issues related to general dentistry, Dr. Jim Wright and his team at Four Seasons Dental Spa are skilled in the holistic dentistry approach. Scheduling a consultation is as easy as calling us at (702) 309-4600.