Bruxism: Are You Harming Your Teeth While You Sleep?

Bruxism: Are You Harming Your Teeth While You Sleep

There are invisible forces that shape our lives. From the love of our families to the free hand of the market, from gravity to magnetism, things that are unseen can have a drastic impact on the way we live and how we feel. These forces can shape our lives for good, or for ill. You may wake up one morning and feel soreness in your jaw, and wonder why your mouth is sore. Your partner may tell you they heard you clenching and grinding your teeth. When these things occur, you may have a condition known as “sleep bruxism”.

Bruxism is the involuntary clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth. This can occur during periods of wakefulness; when it does, it’s known as “awake bruxism”. Bruxism occurs more commonly at night than in the day, and the two forms of bruxism may have different causes. Bruxism has uncomfortable effects which may lead to more serious problems over time. Sufferers of bruxism may have symptoms similar to a toothache or an earache, or they may experience soreness and tenderness in their jaw muscles. The consequences of the condition are far-ranging; sufferers might experience tooth degradation, damage to artificial teeth, loose teeth, and damage to their temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which connect the lower jaw to the skull. Cracks, fractures, and wear and tear may cause long-term tooth pain and sensitivity to pressure and temperature changes.

Bruxism may have many underlying causes; the exact reasons for bruxism are unknown, but it could be a combination of different factors. An abnormal bite might encourage bruxism, as might stress or sleep disorders. There may be a genetic factor, as it tends to occur in families, and it can be associated with numerous other illnesses.

Your dentist may suggest one or many treatment options for bruxism. Nightguards are commonly used for sleep bruxism; they are made to fit softly around the teeth, to minimize discomfort. While wearing a nightguard, the teeth cannot enter into contact with one another, which reduces some of the friction and pressure bruxism causes. Should there be damage to the teeth, your dentist might recommend one of a variety of options for restoring them.

Stress can be a major contributor to bruxism; if you find you are clenching your teeth more during hard times, use stress-relieving techniques to reduce clenching. Meditation, deep breathing, walking in nature or listening to calming music can all help. The tightness in your TMJs could be relieved by applying a warm, wet washcloth to the sides of your jaw.

You want your jaw to be well taken care of if you’ve developed bruxism; it can be incredibly uncomfortable and harmful to your health; you want the best dentist in Winnipeg. Contact Markham Dental Centre for a consultation about teeth clenching and find out how we can help you sleep better and feel better.