Teeth grinding, or bruxism, as it is referred to in the medical community, affects a relatively large amount of the population. Ranging from mild to severe, patients with bruxism grind, clench or gnash their teeth in their sleep, or unconsciously during the day. People who grind or clench their teeth in their sleep are more likely to have sleep disorders including snoring or sleep apnea.
Bruxism was long thought to be brought on by stress; however, new research suggests that jaw clenching is an evolutionarily-developed survival skill designed to open up the airway, which can be blocked by the relaxed tongue and jaw muscles during sleep. This would explain the apparent connection between tooth grinding and clenching and the likelihood of sleep disorders.
If the bruxism is mild or infrequent, no treatment is required. However, some people clench and grind their teeth so frequently and severely that they can experience jaw disorders, headaches and tooth damage. Since it is hard to be aware that you grind and clench your teeth in your sleep before problems arise, it is important to know the signs and symptoms that you may have bruxism.
Signs and symptoms may include:
Teeth that are fractured, chipped or loose
Worn tooth enamel
Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
Jaw or face pain
Tight jaw muscles
Pain that feels like an earache, but is not actually stemming from your ear
Dull headache radiating from the temples
Indentations on your tongue or inside of your cheek
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it is best to call us and let us help. We have custom night guards and other solutions that will help you feel better, sleep better, and protect your teeth. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.