January 5, 2022
When you wake up, do you have soreness and pain around your facial muscles? Do your teeth hurt after a night’s sleep? If the answer to these questions is a yes, you may be grinding your teeth in sleep. But no need to worry; you are not alone. According to the Sleep Foundation, teeth grinding or bruxism affects up to 50% of children and around 15% of adolescents in the US alone. If left untreated, bruxism can seriously affect one’s oral and physical health. But the good news is that bruxism is treatable. In this article, Dr. Kurtz from Havasu Dentistry offers five tips that can help you stop grinding your teeth.
Did you know that stress is among the most common causes of teeth grinding? Simple lifestyle changes like improving sleep hygiene, eating a balanced diet, and improving work-life balance can go a long way in reducing stress - and help you get rid of bruxism. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend seeing a psychiatrist or a psychologist relieve the anxiety issues that cause bruxism.
Dentists prescribe removable appliances called nightguards to patients who grind their teeth during the daytime or while sleeping. A night guard is an appliance that wears over the teeth and prevents excessive wear due to bruxism. However, a night guard offers only symptomatic treatment, while your dentist diagnosis the underlying cause and treats it.
Some medications - those that alter the levels of various chemicals in the brain - can be used to relieve night-time bruxism. These medications reduce nocturnal muscle overactivity - a critical factor in sleep tooth grinding. However, these medications often carry side effects. Hence, your dentist will first talk with your doctor before prescribing them.
In some cases, botox injections are beneficial to patients who do not get relief from other bruxism management options.
In some cases, bruxism is caused due to dental reasons. For example, an overhanging dental filling that feels “higher” than the other teeth causes you to invariably grind the affected tooth and its counterpart while eating, speaking, or during sleep. Furthermore, misaligned teeth can also cause bruxism. Therefore, if you feel that you or a loved one grinds their teeth, you should consult a dentist as soon as possible to avoid complications like teeth cavities, tooth sensitivity, and jaw joint disorders.
Long-standing, untreated bruxism can cause significant dental complications, ultimately leading to tooth loss and chronic jaw joint disorders. Hence, it is essential to seek treatment for bruxism if you suspect that you grind your teeth during sleep. At Havasu Dental, we have a qualified and experienced dental team that specializes in treating all dental problems, from chipped tooth repair to teeth grinding and teeth cavities. So visit us today and let us take good care of your smile and oral health.