Could You Be Grinding Your Teeth at Night?
Posted on: Thursday, July 6th, 2017
It can be difficult to diagnose tooth grinding – technically referred to as “bruxism” – because it usually happens at night and many people are not aware they are doing it. It could take years for a patient and dentist to realize what is happening because the damage resulting from bruxism accumulates so slowly. That’s why it’s important to recognize the earliest possible signs of bruxism so we can work with you to prevent further harm.
What to Look For
If you are grinding your teeth during your sleep, you might notice:
- Some of your teeth are starting to look worn down
- You might develop some chips in your teeth, especially the front ones
- Your jaw could hurt in the morning
- You might have trouble opening and closing your jaw
- You could develop earaches or headaches
- Some of your facial muscles might ache
- Some teeth might become more sensitive to heat or cold or be sore
- You might experience clicking or popping when moving your jaw
We might notice signs of bruxism during a routine visit as well. It is easier for us to spot signs of wear, especially in back teeth. We’ll also let you know if your teeth are developing fractures along the gum line. If we see these or other signs, we’ll alert you to remedies for bruxism or other possible causes of these problems.
Bruxism and Sleep
Bruxism can be related to sleep apnea. That’s when a person stops breathing for a few seconds or even a few minutes during their sleep. They may start breathing again with a loud snort or gasp. Apnea is disruptive to one’s sleep and can cause a person to feel tired in the morning, even when they seem to have had a full night’s sleep. Many people suffer from both bruxism and apnea which makes their sleep very disturbed. It can also be disturbing for anyone sleeping with them! With either bruxism or apnea, it’s important to talk to us about solutions so you can maintain a high quality of life.
What Can We Do for You?
For our patients with bruxism, we create a custom night guard that prevents teeth from touching each other during the night. We’ll make an impression of your teeth in the most optimum position and then form your night guard from this impression. This compact guard clips on your front four teeth.
There are over-the-counter night guards but they will be larger, bulkier and more prone to moving around because they are not an exact fit. You could even lose this guard during the night. A custom-made guard gives you the best protection along with the greatest comfort. And because it is made in a dental lab for your exact bite, it will stay securely in place at night.
If you ever notice aching muscles in your jaw or face or see any other signs of bruxism, please tell us so we can help remedy the situation. However, most people are not aware that they are grinding their teeth.
We are here to protect the oral and dental health of your whole family. If you have any concerns, call us at (317) 596-8000 and let us help.
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