Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common condition treated by dentists. The reason teeth grinding is such a prevalent issue is because it mostly occurs unconsciously while a person sleeps. And, unfortunately, it can lead to several dental issues, ranging from toothaches to worn, weakened, or chipped teeth. A customized mouthguard from a dentist is one of the most effective ways of tackling teeth grinding, but first, you need to understand the common signs of this condition.
How to Tell If You're Grinding Your Teeth at Night
If you're routinely waking up with headaches, bruxism may be to blame. The repeated action of the teeth rubbing back and forth against each other puts significant tension in the jaw and mouth muscles, which connect to tendons in the head and neck. As a result, you might wake up with tension headaches.
2. Painful or Stiff Jaws
With frequent and severe teeth grinding, you might have a regularly sore or stiff jaw. In particularly serious cases, you may even have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), a medical condition in which the muscles of the jaw and surrounding areas are extremely painful and limited in movement. While pain may start in the jaw itself, it can sometimes stretch into the ears and neck as well.
3. Worn-Down Teeth
Although teeth are strong and durable, nightly teeth grinding over time can cause them to visibly wear down. If you notice more or less uniform indentations or grooves along the edges of the teeth, bruxism may be the reason, and a dentist should be consulted. Teeth that have started to wear down may also be more sensitive and more prone to coming loose or falling out.
4. Inadequate Sleep
Another sign of teeth grinding is routinely waking up feeling tired. Sleep is meant to be a time to restore and rejuvenate the body and mind, and after a few minutes of shaking off its lingering effects, you should feel ready to face the day. Teeth grinding can disrupt one's natural sleep cycle and cause fitful, interrupted sleep—often without the person even realizing it.
Don't let teeth grinding endanger the health of your mouth or the quality of your sleep. The dentists at Preventive Dental Services PC are here to help. Since 1997, they have been serving the Homer and Barrow, AK, areas. They provide exams, cleanings, extractions, and implants. Call (907) 235-1286 to schedule an appointment or visit their website to view their services.