Do you wake up in the morning to your jaw, teeth, and gums feeling tender or sore? You might be grinding your teeth in your sleep without even knowing you are doing it. Bruxism, a condition where a person grinds and clenches their teeth, is a treatable condition that can happen while awake (awake bruxism) or asleep (sleep bruxism).
If you suffer from teeth grinding, there is no reason you need to continue living with the pain caused by gnashing your teeth together throughout the day or night. At Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry, our Holly Springs and Cary area dentists are skilled in diagnosing and treating bruxism. We have everything you need to know to stop grinding your teeth and to make an appointment with our dentistry team to discuss the best approach to combat your teeth grinding.
How Do I Know if I Grind My Teeth?
There are several tells to know whether or not you grind your teeth. From pain to discomfort to more extreme situations like a chipped tooth, grinding your teeth can lead to dental complications you want to avoid. The good news is that if you are grinding your teeth without knowing it, there are symptoms to look out for.
The physical grinding and/or clenching of your lower and upper teeth against each other can happen whether you are awake or asleep.
Some of the common symptoms of bruxism are:
- Grinding sounds in your sleep that keeps your partner awake.
- Flattened, chipped, loose, or fractured teeth that were not caused by another factor.
- Worn down tooth enamel that shows a deeper level of your tooth.
- Jaw muscle tightness or a locked jaw that does not open or close normally.
- Jaw, neck, face, and mouth pain or discomfort.
- Increased tooth sensitivity when drinking cold or hot beverages.
- Headaches that begin at the temples.
- Pains similar to an earache.
- Damage to the inside of your cheek from chewing on it.
- Disrupted sleep.
- Excessive stress.
It’s possible that you may experience some of the symptoms of teeth grinding but not all. If you have been feeling pain, particularly when waking in the morning, or you often wake up irritated or as though you had a sleepless night, along with some mouth soreness, it’s time to visit your dentist in Cary.
What is Causing Me to Grind My Teeth?
There could be any number of contributing factors to why you grind your teeth, and they could be the result of physical, psychological, or genetic factors.
Factors that increase the risk of bruxism are:
- Stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
- Age, with younger children being more prone to teeth grinding.
- Having an aggressive, hyperactive, or competitive personality type.
- Side effects from certain medications.
- A family history of bruxism.
- Medical disorders like sleep terrors, sleep apnea, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or other conditions.
When Should I Visit My Dentist if I Grind My Teeth?
While your family dentist may not be able to diagnose the contributing factors to your teeth grinding, such as anxiety or depression, we can help you find fast and reasonable solutions to stop grinding your teeth. If you’ve become restless, and sleepless, or are experiencing jaw or mouth pain, soreness, or sensitivity, it’s very possible you are suffering from awake bruxism, sleep bruxism or both.
Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you become aware that you are showing signs of teeth grinding
When you care for your dental health, it affects your overall mental and physical health, well-being, and happiness. Finding a solution to stop grinding your teeth is an easy way your Cary or Holly Springs dentist can help you relieve stress and live a pain-free life.
Tips to Stop Teeth Grinding
Have you been grinding your teeth and are now in desperate need of a solution to your pain and discomfort?
Let’s explore the actions you can take to alleviate your pain by stopping teeth grinding.
Become Conscious of Your Grinding
While it certainly will not work for all people, it can be effective for some individuals just to become aware of the fact they grind their teeth throughout the day. If you practice mindfulness, noticing that you clench your jaw or gnash your teeth together in moments of anxiety or stress, you can in turn find ways to become mindful enough to adapt new strategies for when stress begins to take its toll. If you notice signs of grinding your teeth, take a breath, relax your jaw, and reset to try to stop yourself from grinding.
Get a Nighttime Mouthguard
Nighttime mouthguards worn while sleeping are one of the easiest and most effective ways to stop sleep bruxism. Custom-made mouth guards not only protect your teeth from damage caused by teeth grinding, but they also help to relax your jaw muscles throughout the night while you get a restful night’s sleep. Custom mouth guards are designed by your dentist to fit your jaw and mouth, but over-the-counter options that are “one size fits all” can also be used, though they are somewhat less effective than custom ones from your dental office.
Try Anxiety and Stress Reducing Techniques
Meditation, yoga, talk therapy, and even exercise are activities that are proven to relieve symptoms of anxiety and stress. Adopting a couple of self-care methods that allow both your body and your mind to relax might help to alleviate some of your teeth grinding.
Perform Jaw Massages and Tongue Exercises
Learn to relax the muscles in your face and jaw by performing a series of mouth exercises each morning and/or evening. You do not need to take longer than a few minutes each day to relax your sore and tight jaw and facial muscles that are tensed from teeth grinding.
Undergo a Corrective Dental Surgery
Individuals who are not receptive to other preventative teeth-grinding measures might be candidates for a corrective dental surgery known as Reductive Coronoplasty. During the procedure, the biting surface of your teeth is reshaped. This is often effective for people with crooked, overcrowded, or misaligned teeth that lead to grinding.
Contact Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry– Your Holly Springs and Cary Dentist
If you are suffering each day and night due to the pain associated with extensive teeth grinding or if you have begun to notice signs that make you suspect you grind your teeth, schedule an appointment with our family dental practice.
Our dentists at Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry are in oral health and can help you develop a solution, like a custom-made mouthguard, to stop teeth grinding.