A condition known as sleep bruxism is what most people refer to as teeth grinding. It is known as a sleep-related movement disorder. Those who grind their teeth while they sleep are more likely to have other sleeping disorders like snoring and sleep apnea.
If you let your teeth grinding go untreated, your teeth will get shorter and shorter over the years causing chewing and bite issues. Most people do not even know they are doing it. It is usually a spouse or parent that will tell you they hear you grinding your teeth at night. If you wake up in the morning with pain in your jaw, chipped tooth enamel, or headaches, there is a good chance that you are grinding your teeth while you sleep.
Researchers are still not exactly sure why people have sleep bruxism, though there are many ideas. It seems to be related to arousal while sleeping, genetic characteristic, alcohol, chemistry of the brain, particular drugs, and smoking. In some people, stress and anxiety have been found to affect teeth grinding according to recent studies.
It has been found that both men and women are equally effected with teeth grinding. It does appear that it is more common with children than adults and it has been show to lessen with age. Sleep bruxism affects about 8% of the general population and about 40% of children under the age of eleven.
Learn the Signs of Teeth Grinding
Some of the more common signs that teeth grinding is an issue for you is teeth wearing, tenderness of head muscles, tenderness of the muscles in the jaw, swelling of jaw muscles, headaches in the morning, indentation of the tongue, and tenderness or pain of mouth muscles when they are moved.
There are issues with leaving sleep bruxism untreated. It can lead to worn-down teeth, jaw muscles that are painful and sore, teeth or crowns that become loose, teeth that are broken or cracked, sensitivity to cold or hot food or liquid, tinnitus, ringing, buzzing, or hissing in the ear, ear congestion, earaches, and tension or migraine headaches.
In many cases, there can be permanent damage to the teeth requiring substantial restorations. Another issue that can arise is chronic jaw joint and muscle pain that can become worse with anxiety.
Sleep Bruxism Treatment
Speak to us about your teeth grinding issues so we can help you lessen your complications from it. Even though it can’t be cured at this point, there are treatments available.
The best treatment available is using a mouth guard like football players use when they play to protect their teeth. These can be found at many department or sports stores. Get several different sizes and see which is the most comfortable for you. You can trim them with a sharp knife and cut off the helmet attachment part. Place it in boiling water for a few minutes until the plastic becomes softer. Carefully, not to burn your mouth, place it in your mouth and bite down to mold the plastic to your teeth. This will fit it to your teeth. Alternatively, you may want to have a dentist help you fit a mouth guard. This will protect your teeth from wearing and restrict the movement of your jaw. It is a safe and effect treatment.