Are Your Teeth Working On Their Night Moves?: The Top Signs of Teeth Grinding

Signs of Teeth Grinding

13 May Are Your Teeth Working On Their Night Moves?: The Top Signs of Teeth Grinding

Did you know that sleep bruxism can affect nearly 9% of the general population?

Bruxism is also known as teeth grinding. It can happen both during sleep and when people are awake. According to a literature review on the subject, bruxism can cause multiple health problems including tooth damage.

That’s why it’s important to look for signs of teeth grinding and find a solution to this problem.

But what causes bruxism? And what are the treatment options available?

Keep reading to find out!

Causes of Bruxism

Scientists are still debating the exact causes of teeth grinding at night.

Studies suggest that this health condition is more common among people with sleep apnea. It can affect both adults and children.

There are several possible causes of bruxism:

  • Excessive stress and anxiety
  • The upper teeth don’t align properly with the lower teeth
  • A side effect of a medication
  • Stimulants such as caffeine

It has been found that emotions play a vital role in the development of bruxism. For example, aggressive people are more likely to grind their teeth during the night.

Sleep arousal is also a common cause of bruxism. It is usually associated with people with sleep apnea and those who snore during their sleep

Too much caffeine or energy drink might also cause bruxism, especially in children.

Signs of Teeth Grinding

You have discovered the causes of bruxism, but how can you tell if you have it since teeth grinding happens during sleep?

Well, doctors have come up with a list of symptoms which are usually found in people with bruxism:

1. Jaw Pain

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Jaw pain can appear since people with bruxism have an overactive jaw which constantly grinds the lower teeth against the upper ones.

When they wake up in the morning, people with bruxism feel pain and discomfort in their jaws. They might need a pain pill to alleviate this symptom.

2. The Sleep Partner Complains About It

It’s similar to snoring – you might not know you’re doing it, but your partner sure does!

When you are in the same bed with someone who grinds his teeth at night, it’s almost impossible not to hear that.

The tooth enamel is one of the strongest substance in nature and it makes a loud sound when it grinds constantly for hours.

If your partner complains that you grind your teeth during the night, you have bruxism.

3. Chipped Teeth

Chipped or fractured teeth are common among people with bruxism.

Especially if one person grinds his teeth for a long time, this simple action can damage the tooth enamel. As a result, the deeper layers of the teeth might become exposed.

Take a look in the mirror and inspect the condition of your teeth.

Snap a picture and refer to it frequently in the upcoming months. If your teeth appear more chipped than before for no obvious reasons, you might grind your teeth at night.

If your teeth are already badly chipped as a result of untreated bruxism, you might need cosmetic dentistry services to improve your dental appearance.

4. Headaches

Dull headaches are also commonly associated with teeth clenching.

Think about the fact that this health condition causes pain and discomfort. At some point, you might feel pain around your temples. Some people report pain in the ear area, but their ears are just fine.

In some cases, the headache persists even if you take a pain pill. This is when you know that your bruxism problem is serious.

5. Teeth Sensitivity

People who experience gnashing of teeth might develop mild teeth sensitivity which is accompanied by mild teeth pain.

Teeth sensitivity means that your teeth become painful when you eat cold or hot foods. For example, most people can eat ice cream just fine, but for people with teeth sensitivity, this can be a really painful experience.

You might also experience painful teeth when you drink hot or cold beverages.

In some cases, your teeth sensitivity can be caused by teeth grinding at night. Speak to your dentist and run this theory by him. Your doctor will be able to give you more details about bruxism and how to treat it.

6. Changes In Your Facial Expressions

Since teeth grinding damages your teeth, these will become smaller and smaller over time.

As a result, your facial expressions will appear different since there will be less “teeth material” for your jaw to rest on.

Although you won’t observe this symptom overnight, it is common among people who have had bruxism for years.

How To Treat Bruxism

Luckily, there are several treatment methods for teeth grinding. Here are a few good ideas you can try:

1. Reduce Stimulants Intake

It might sound harsh, but try to avoid caffeine, energy drinks and alcoholic beverages for a while.

These might cause jaw hyperactivity during the night which in turn leads to bruxism. Having less coffee and alcohol in your system will also improve the quality of your sleep, so you’ll wake up with more energy in the morning.

2. Get A Night Guard

Night guards are small devices which are placed in your mouth during your sleep.

They might be uncomfortable at first, but people eventually get used to them. Night guards are designed to prevent your lower teeth from grinding on the upper teeth.

By wearing a night guard regularly, the automatic habit of teeth grinding might be eliminated in the future.

3. Get A Mandibular Device

If you have both bruxism and sleep apnea, you might want to try a mandibular device specially designed for your mouth.

This is a slightly more complex device which realigns your tongue and jaw. It will also prevent teeth grinding and it helps to clear the airway, so you can breathe better during your sleep.

People have reported that custom-made mandibular devices can be used to heal sleep apnea as well as bruxism.

Save Your Teeth Today!

If you have any of the aforementioned signs of teeth grinding, don’t wait any longer!

Book an appointment with us today and we’ll help you find an appropriate solution to your bruxism problem.

Dr. Daniel Allen

Daniel Allen, DDS has been involved in dentistry since 2003, starting his career as a dental hygienist before completing his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at UT Houston Dental Branch. Dr. Allen is a sixth generation Texan and was raised here in Central Texas. Learn more

Related Articles