Sleep Bruxism: How to Stop Grinding Teeth at Night
Arizona’s Trusted Dentists Share Tips to Prevent Teeth Grinding
Teeth clenching and grinding, which is medically known as bruxism, is a frustrating condition that can leave you waking up with headaches, jaw pain, and even broken teeth. If you experience these symptoms, or your partner is complaining that you make teeth gnashing sounds in your sleep, you could be inadvertently grinding your teeth. This condition can cause serious damage and pain if left untreated. Learn more about bruxism and how an Arrowhead dental clinic can help!
Bruxism Symptoms & Its Impacts on Your Oral Health
The most common symptoms of bruxism are headaches and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. Usually, these symptoms will be accompanied by other signs of oral problems, including abnormal tooth wear, fractured teeth, and gumline recession. You may also experience increased tooth sensitivity to certain foods and drinks, or very hot or cold foods, due to decreased tooth enamel. Some people suffer from chipped or loose teeth and tight muscles in the jaw and face. Since these symptoms are similar to other conditions, your Glendale dentist may want you to work with your doctor to eliminate those conditions as part of a bruxism diagnosis.
The clenching force exerted while sleeping can be much stronger than from chewing foods. This is because when you chew, the food receives the brunt of the impact and buffers the force. When you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping, your teeth get the full force. No wonder nighttime clenching has such negative impacts on your oral health!
Tips for Teeth Grinding Prevention
Your Arrowhead dentist offers some self-care tips that may prevent or help treat bruxism:
- Reduce stress. Since stress and anxiety are connected to bruxism, take time to wind down before bed and reduce your overall stress by listening to relaxing music, taking a warm bath, or exercising.
- Avoid stimulating substances in the evening. Don’t drink caffeinated coffee or tea after dinner and avoid alcohol consumption, as these substances may worsen bruxism.
- Practice good sleep habits. Make it a priority to get a good night’s sleep. This may mean getting treatment for any sleep problems.
- Schedule regular dental exams. Dental exams are the best way to identify bruxism and give you the tools to begin managing symptoms as soon as they start.
- Practice proper mouth and jaw positioning. Ask your Arrowhead general dentist to show you how to properly position your mouth and jaw to prevent further damage and reduce your teeth clenching. Biofeedback is another tool that can help teach your body how to control the muscles in your jaw to relieve pain and prevent bruxism.
Teeth Clenching is Often Caused by Stress & Anxiety
Some of the primary reasons that people grind or clench their teeth are anger, anxiety, frustration, and stress. Of these, stress has the strongest link to bruxism. Reducing stress by practicing self care, promoting endorphin release through exercise, and taking time to wind down before bed can be very effective. Some people may need to seek care through counseling or medication to help manage their stress and anxiety. Talk with a therapist about strategies that promote relaxation.
Mouth Guards or Night Guards for Grinding Teeth
In many cases of bruxism, treatment isn’t needed. Children often outgrow the habit without specific treatment, and many adults don’t grind or clench their teeth strongly enough to benefit from therapy.
However, some cases can be more severe and may require the use of mouth guards or night guards. These dental implements are designed to keep your top and bottom teeth separated from each other. They may be made with hard or soft materials and fit comfortably over upper or lower teeth. Sometimes night guards are custom made for a better fit. While they do not actually cure bruxism, they prevent further tooth damage and can help relieve headaches and TMJ pain.
Physical therapy and occasionally medication can also be useful in some situations. To repair damage, orthodontic care or replacement of crowns and bridges may be needed. Talk with your Arrowhead dentist office to discuss which treatment options may be the best for you.
Alcohol, Caffeine & Tobacco: Ditch Habits That Contribute to Bruxism
There’s some evidence that alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and caffeine consumption late in the day can increase your risk of bruxism. However, this isn’t always the case, since bruxism is also common in children, but may be a contributing factor and a habit to consider changing if you are experiencing severe bruxism and its associated discomforts.
Did You Crack a Tooth Due to Teeth Grinding? Contact Professional Dentists in Glendale, AZ
Dr. Greg Ceyhan is one of the most experienced cosmetic dentists in Arizona and is ready to help restore your smile! Enjoy top rated and experienced dental care at an affordable price. Schedule an appointment with Aesthetic Dentistry of Arrowhead at our conveniently located clinic to start relieving the discomfort from teeth clenching.
Dr. Greg Ceyhan – Aesthetic Dentistry of Arrowhead
17100 N 67th Ave, Suite 500
Glendale, Arizona 85308
Phone: (623) 979-1515
Fax: (623) 878-1811
Office Hours: Monday-Friday: 8am-5pm