Waking up in the morning with jaw pain that radiates to the teeth could mean you are grinding your teeth during the night. Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding, and your family dentist can offer special devices to help with cessation. Teeth grinding typically occurs at night while you sleep, but can also happen throughout the day without you even realizing it.
Symptoms & Treatment for Nighttime Teeth Grinding
Symptoms of teeth grinding
Dentists have found that people who grind their teeth are three times more likely to suffer from chronic headaches. Stiffness can occur in the jaw, as well as neck and shoulders. Eventually, the rhythmic grinding will wear down tooth enamel, leading to fractures and breakage. Many who suffer from nighttime teeth grinding also complain of sleep disorders.
Medically, there is no definitive reason we grind our teeth, but the usual suspects are stress, stimulants, alcohol, and anxiety. Smokers and those who have sleep apnea are also more likely to show symptoms of teeth grinding. Patients who claim to have a high-stress career and long work hours have a higher incidence as well.
Mouth guards are a device crafted by your family dentist to separate upper & lower teeth in order to avoid grinding and subsequent damage. Depending on the preference of your dentist and the presence of cosmetic dentistry such as veneers or dentures, these devices can be made of hard acrylic or softer materials. In most instances, a mold will be taken of your teeth, and a soft, flexible tray will be custom-made to cover both upper and lower teeth. Dentists might also recommend using a warm washcloth on the jaw to relax muscles before bedtime, or in more extreme cases, a prescription muscle relaxant.
An appointment with your family dentist is a must if you suspect teeth grinding. Together you can create a treatment plan, and your questions and concerns will be addressed. Nayaug Family Dental in South Glastonbury, CT, would like to help you overcome your nighttime teeth grinding issues with custom night guards. Call today at (860) 633-6167 for an appointment or emergency dental treatment, or visit their website.