Teeth grinding or bruxism is a medical condition in which the patient grinds teeth while asleep. The disease affects both adults and children, especially those with a family history of bruxism or sleep apnea.
What is grinding your teeth a sign of? What causes the grinding of the teeth during sleep?
What makes you grind your teeth at night? Patients who grind their teeth only while asleep suffer from sleep-related bruxism referred to as nocturnal bruxism. On the other hand, people who show the symptoms during the day time are usually affected due to stress. The condition is considered severe; however, it remains controllable as the patient remains awake and well-aware.
Diagnosis can be made by an experienced physician or dentist who would evaluate the symptoms to find the possible reason. If it is linked with sleep-related disorders, the dental care expert will refer the patient to a sleep medicine expert for further assessment.
Bruxism can be caused due to dental issues, stress, anger, anxiety, facial muscle disorder, or jaw related problems. It can also indicate a side-effect of other medical conditions, including serious ones like Parkinson’s disease. Thus, it is essential for the patient to share the details of medicines consumed daily with the physician or dentist while getting treated for the medical condition.
Symptoms of grinding your teeth in your sleep
The patient experiences pain in the jaw muscles, feels uncomfortable while opening or closing mouth, notices cracks on teeth, and of course, makes sounds of clenching or grating teeth while asleep. Such individuals often feel surprised when they see damaged teeth, loosened tooth fillings after waking up in the morning. He or she may also face problems while opening the mouth wide. The sound of tooth grinding makes life difficult for the patient’s sleeping partner as well.
How to get rid of bruxism?
Teeth grind or rub together due to forceful, outward thrusting movements while the person remains asleep. Thus, the condition should not be left untreated for longer to avoid significant damage in children as well as adults. Fortunately, there are multiple therapies to help in preventing teeth grinding.
Along with prevention, it is crucial to treat the prominent causes of bruxism. The patient needs to focus on reducing stress, practice jaw relaxing exercises, and opt for teeth misalignment treatment if required.
Several studies have pointed out that persons who face stress often grind teeth while in sleep. Counseling sessions combined with minor changes in the lifestyle and daily exercises can help in reducing stress considerably. Massages, deep breathing exercising, reading, and practicing Yoga can act as good stress-busters.
Practicing manual jaw-opening exercise, jaw joint stretch, smile stretch, and following other jaw relaxing practices can prove to be of great help. Placing a clean cotton cloth moistened in warm water on cheeks can help in relaxing the affected muscles and control bruxism.
Misalignment of teeth can result in an abnormal bite, and this further worsens grinding. A dentist would be able to check misalignment of teeth to ascertain if that’s the reason behind bruxism and suggest a treatment plan for correcting the abnormal bite accordingly.
For controlling the damage caused due to teeth grinding, dentists recommend patients to place a mouthguard inside the mouth while sleeping. It fits perfectly in the mouth and creates a layer between the upper and lower teeth to reduce the effects of bruxism.
At times, bruxism can be triggered due to dental health issues. There can be several reasons behind bruxism, but, stress is found to be the common one around the world. It can be due to work, relationships, or even due to exercising too much. Your physician or psychologist would be able to pinpoint the exact reason.
Patients are also advised to focus on their daily diet, take plenty of rest, and control caffeine, alcohol consumption.
Avoid watching television, using a smartphone, or keeping night-lights on while sleeping. A warm bath, primarily, before going to sleep, can ensure a peaceful sleep.
Can grinding teeth cause teeth to move?
Bruxism can result in absolutely poor oral health along with facial pain, headaches, earache, pain and stiffness in the jaw, and disrupted sleep. Most of these signs disappear as soon as the patient starts treatment for teeth grinding.
The medical condition makes teeth and gums more sensitive, resulting in more cracks and tooth fillings may loosen up. Extreme tooth damage occurs when bruxism enters advanced stage due to lack of treatment.
When the condition turns severe, the patient starts grinding teeth frequently, resulting in TMJ disorder. Some cases have already proved the link between bruxism and hearing loss as well.
Over the years, grinding puts an incredible amount of force on teeth daily, resulting in damaged tooth enamel. It further makes teeth sensitive, cracked, chipped, loosened, and fractured as well. The individual might also experience dull headaches after waking up in the morning. Ultimately, the patient’s face starts appearing sagging due to weak jaw joints.
The patient needs to use dental bridges, crowns, dentures, and even root canal to save the damaged tooth.
A study has pointed out that individuals suffering from bruxism remain more prone to disorders like sleep apnea. So, ignoring the condition can be the worst step.
Treatment focuses on curing the symptoms and breaking the habit. In extreme cases, the physician or dentist may refer the patient to a trained physiotherapy or expert in practicing habit-reversal techniques.
Such techniques require the patient to note the number of times he or she grinds teeth each day and zero-in on the possible reasons behind the same. Individuals are further trained in controlling their clenching or grinding habit using self-help techniques.
However, jaw relaxing, stress-busting exercises combined with mouth guards and splints can do the trick for most of the patients. Mouth guards can be custom-made to fit in the mouth without causing any discomfort.
Are you worried about your teeth grinding habit and wish to get the best possible treatment? If so, you should surely make an appointment at TruCare Dentistry.