Have you ever been told that you grind your teeth in your sleep? For many people, bruxism (the technical name for grinding your teeth) only happens while they’re sleeping. This means they may not even be aware of their condition until someone else observes it, or until complications arise. For example, a sleep partner may alert you to the annoying sound of teeth grinding through the night. Because bruxism can often go undetected until it causes genuine damage, it’s wise to be aware of the signs and symptoms.
What Causes Teeth Grinding During Sleep?
The causes of bruxism aren’t fully understood, but it seems to be attributable to a range of psychological, genetic and physical factors. Stress can be a common trigger, as can some medications. Additionally, teeth grinding can be associated with some medical conditions, including:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sleep apnea and sleep movement disorders
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder)
- Night terrors
Can Grinding Your Teeth be Dangerous?
For many people with bruxism, the condition is mild, does not require treatment and does not lead to further complications. For others, bruxism can lead to serious jaw disorders and dental damage. No one wants to wake up to the remarkably unpleasant surprise of sudden tooth damage, so it pays to be mindful if you experience the following symptoms:
- Pain or soreness in the jaw, neck or face
- Increased sensitivity or pain in teeth
- Bite damage to oral tissues
- Feelings of fatigue or tightness in the jaw
- Headaches originating in the temples
- Disrupted sleep
Why You Should See a Dentist About Grinding Your Teeth
Over time, bruxism can lead to flattened, loose, chipped and fractured teeth. This is another reason why it’s so important to maintain a twice-yearly schedule with your dentist. These appointments don’t just help you keep cavities and gum disease at bay; they’re also invaluable opportunities to monitor your teeth and jaw for signs of nighttime teeth grinding. Call or contact Les Belles today to schedule an appointment to discuss bruxism, and how it might be affecting your oral health.