Officially known as bruxism, about half the population unknowingly clench their jaws and grind their teeth at some stage in their lives and may suffer various unwelcome effects, beyond just cranky bedmates.
For some, bruxism can be a daily grind, while ‘sleep bruxism’ is a sleep-related movement disorder. Mild bruxism may not require treatment; however, in some people, the condition can lead to more severe effects such as headaches, loss of tooth enamel, jaw disorders and damaged teeth.
Do you — or someone you sleep with — suffer from noisy teeth grinding or tense jaw clenching?
Gnashing at Night
Most often a partner or parent is the first person to notice bruxism as a noisy, grinding sound of the teeth, while the person doing the clenching is oblivious. Regular checkups also help to identify the disorder and can flag any dental effects.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Grinding sounds when the person is sleeping
- Clenching jaws when anxious or tense
- Aching or stiffness in the teeth, jaw or temples
- Sensitive, cracked, chipped or loose teeth
- Dull headaches originating in the temple area
- Damage from chewing the insides of the cheeks.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
A number of factors can trigger teeth grinding: emotional stress (anxiety or anger), physical stress (illness, nutritional deficiency, dehydration), heavy concentration, incorrect tooth alignment, teething (in babies and toddlers), stimulating substances such as caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol and illegal drugs such as methamphetamines and ecstasy can all increase the risk of bruxism.
What Can I Do About Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism is a relatively common condition. Treatment can be as simple as a better bedtime routine and stress management, or a little more involved with a night guard and short-term muscle relaxants.
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Waverley Park Dental Care will work with you to get you and your family on track to a better night’s sleep, and at the same time keep your teeth in check. Contact us today for a friendly consultation.