If you already know you grind your teeth in your sleep, then you have what is medically referred to as bruxism. Bruxism is when you involuntarily clench, gnash or grind your teeth at night (or for some, during the day), often resulting in pain in the teeth, jaw and a dull headache upon waking. If you have these symptoms and have been wondering why you wake up this way, then you might have bruxism and not even realize it.
By some estimates, 50% of the entire world grinds their teeth on occasion. Unfortunately, 5% of the population has chronic bruxism, meaning it is an every night or almost every night occurrence. Further, chronic bruxism generally involves more forceful grinding, clenching and gnashing, resulting in many dental problems.
What Causes Bruxism?
Bruxism can be caused by a number of things or nothing at all. For some, stress triggers bouts of bruxism. Grinding teeth can be a physical release of stress, often on the subconscious level acting out on the physical plane. For others, bruxism occurs when they are concentrating on something or feeling nervous.
How Can I Tell if I Grind My Teeth?
The most common way that people find out they have bruxism is through a sleeping partner. Grinding produces an audible sound, often keeping your sleeping partner awake. If you haven't heard from them about your grinding or you sleep alone, here are some other symptoms of bruxism:
- Dull headache
- Ear pain
- Pain in the jaw bone and joint
- Teeth that hurt when you wake up
- Stiff face or temples when you wake up
- Pain while chewing, worse in the morning at breakfast
- Inadvertently clenching your jaw when angry or focused
- Teeth sensitivity to hot and cold
- Cracked teeth
- Chipped enamel
- Biting tongue and cheek
- Lumps and marks on cheek and tongue from biting
- Teeth that wiggle or are loose
What Happens When You Grind Your Teeth?
Unfortunately, there are some serious dental problems related to bruxism, including:
- Cracks in the enamel of your teeth
- Undue tooth stress
- Fractures in teeth, especially around dental work
- Strain and stress on joints and soft tissue
- Temporo-mandibular disorder
- On rare occasions loss of teeth and inflamed jaw muscles
If you suspect you or a loved one grinds their teeth and would like to speak to a dentists please, call (02) 8279 2282 or click here to make an appointment with Sydney Dentist Clinic to stop bruxism.