Have you ever found yourself awakened in the middle of the night as a result of your spouse grinding their teeth? Or has your spouse ever told you they hear you grinding your teeth at night? You’re not alone. A dental problem many people face is teeth grinding also known as professionally as “bruxism.” There is no evidence pinning an indisputable cause to bruxism, but many medical professionals believe that bruxism is related to stress or abnormal occlusion (fitting of the teeth together).
For most sufferers of teeth grinding, the ailment strikes during sleep. As a result of this, many of those who grind their teeth don’t realize it. However, there are some noticeable symptoms of bruxism during your waking hours:
Morning Headaches — If you wake up in the morning and find that you have an unexplainable dull headache, it may be a sign that you’ve been grinding in your sleep.
Sore Jaw — Similar to the prior point, if you find your jaw is sore after a night of rest, then you may have experienced a case of bruxism overnight.
Heightened Tooth Sensitivity — If you find that your teeth seem to be more sensitive than usual to stimuli — especially hot and cold, this is probably due to increased stress and damage done to your teeth during grinding.
Worn Down Teeth — Not only a symptom, but a major consequence of bruxism is the fact that you are slowly grinding away the enamel of your teeth and wearing your teeth down. If this happens noticeably, you may wish to visit your dentist to find out if you have more signs of bruxism.
Audible Grinding in the Night — Usually the grinding is noticeable by others sharing your bed. If you feel like you may be experiencing symptoms of bruxism, ask your significant other if they’ve heard you grind in the night.
Luckily, bruxism is a generally treatable ailment. If severe damage has occurred, you may have to get dental implants or bridgework done to repair damage. To prevent further grinding, your dentist may suggest that you get a dental guard to wear in the night to protect your teeth from further damage while grinding.
If symptoms continue to persist, grinding can lead to more severe consequences such as hearing loss or TMJ disorders.