How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth at Night
If you wake up with a sore jaw and teeth, you might be grinding your teeth at night. This is called bruxism. This habit might start at any age, and is usually done without you knowing in your sleep. However, it can also be done when you are awake. If you grind your teeth during the day, it is usually when you are concentrating on a task. If you grind at night, you place your teeth together and use the jaw to put pressure on your teeth. When you sleep, teeth grinding is usually just rhythmic and clenching contractions.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
People who grind their teeth commonly experience headaches. Other symptoms of teeth grinding include enlargement of facial muscles, TMJ discomfort, muscle aches, ear pain, stiffness in the neck and shoulders, and sleep disorders. Teeth experience abnormal mobility and wear. This can lead to teeth breaking, and even the loss of teeth.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
Anxiety and stress are main factors in teeth grinding. Also, smoking cigarettes, heavy alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, sleep disorders, and depression can all be possible causes of teeth grinding. Bruxism is more often found in people who have sleep apnea and people who snore.
Treatment for Teeth Grinding
Is there a good way to stop grinding or clenching your teeth? Treatment of teeth grinding is mostly dependent on the cause of the teeth grinding. Your dentist should conduct a comprehensive exam and come up with a treatment plan that is personalized for you. For most people, wearing an occlusal appliance is the best way to protect your teeth from teeth grinding. Occlusal appliances can come in the form of splints, night guards, bite guards, bruxism appliances, and bite plates. These appliances are custom made for each patient, and will fit perfectly over your bottom or top teeth. Wearing an occlusal appliance will relieve and reduce your jaw pain, and will protect both your TMJ joint and your teeth. These appliances are generally worn while you sleep, and are considered the best treatment option for teeth grinding.
Other Treatment Options:
Mandibular Advancement Devices are also custom made, and are fitted over your top and bottom teeth as well. This treatment option is specifically for when a sleep disorder is the cause of the teeth grinding. This device helps to manage sleep apnea and snoring, and prevents grinding as a result.
If the cause of your teeth grinding is stress or anxiety, then practicing meditation or relaxation techniques might be helpful. Going to speak with a psychologist might also help you manage your stress more effectively.
Ending teeth grinding will require the help of your dentist or oral surgeon. After a thorough examination is done, you and your dental team can develop a treatment plan so that bruxism no longer impacts your daily life.