Everyone gets stressed out once in a while. For some of us, stress can result in clenching or grinding our teeth, also known as bruxism. Grinding teeth at night—sleep bruxism—is considered a sleep-related movement disorder, like snoring and sleep apnea.
Grinding your teeth puts pressure on the mouth’s muscles and tissues, as well as the jaw. So when it is frequent and severe enough, it can lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth and other problems.
You may not even realize that you are grinding your teeth until complications develop. Talk to Dr. Douglas Angell or one of our dental hygienists if you experience any of the following:
- The grinding is loud enough to wake up your sleeping partner
- Your jaw becomes sore or you wake up with a sensitive jaw
- You have increased tooth sensitivity or it hurts to eat
- You experience a headache or earache
- You have chronic facial pain
- Your teeth are worn down, flattened or chipped
Treatment for bruxism can be as simple as practicing facial and overall relaxation techniques to reduce stress. You can also purchase an over-the-counter bruxism mouth guard to wear when you sleep or talk to your dentist about a custom mouth guard for the best fit. Other corrective procedures your dentist might suggest include: splints that fit over your teeth, an NTI appliance, dental onlays or a dental crown to repair affected teeth. If your teeth grinding is linked to a problem with your bite, an orthodontist may recommend braces to help correct the issue, called malocclusion.
If you are concerned about teeth grinding, call Angell’s Dentistry to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and recommend a course of action. And be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.