grind teeth in sleep

Why Do I Grind My Teeth in My Sleep?

Do you frequently wake up with a sore mouth or jaw? If you are grinding your teeth in your sleep, then your teeth are probably suffering. Lifetime Family Dental wants to help you keep your teeth in excellent shape and we can treat the effects of teeth grinding before they worsen. Read on to learn more about why you might grind your teeth and what type of treatments can help.

What Is Bruxism?

Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism, a condition that involves clenching and gnashing your teeth. There are two types of bruxism—waking and sleeping. Waking bruxism occurs when you unconsciously clench your teeth while you are awake. Sleeping bruxism is a type of disorder in which you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep.

How Can I Tell If I Grind My Teeth in My Sleep?

Many people grind their teeth in their sleep without even realizing it. Fortunately, there are several ways to find out if you have sleep bruxism. Regular visits to your dentist can help catch signs of teeth grinding that you have not noticed yourself. In addition, you should take note if you ever clench or grind your teeth loud enough to wake yourself up or wake your partner. 

What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?

Teeth grinding will inflict more damage on your teeth over time. Grinding your teeth can also cause TMJ, headaches, and other symptoms. If you grind your teeth at night, you’ll likely notice symptoms the morning after it occurs.

Your dentist can diagnose bruxism based on the signs of distress in your mouth. However, if you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms, make sure to discuss them with your dentist.

Symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Pain or stiffness in the jaw, neck, or face
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Flattened, cracked, or chipped teeth with an unexplained cause
  • Inability to completely close or open your jaw

Why Do I Grind My Teeth?

There is no single reason as to why people grind their teeth in their sleep or while waking. If you have a sleep disorder like snoring or sleep apnea, you are more likely to have sleep bruxism. Stress and anxiety can also contribute to unconscious teeth grinding.

Causes of teeth grinding differ from person to person, but common risk factors include:

  • Having family members with bruxism
  • Increased stress, anxiety, anger, or frustration
  • An aggressive, hyperactive, or competitive personality
  • Age—bruxism is more common in children, but they often outgrow it

How Can I Stop Teeth Grinding?

Approaches to preventing or treating both waking and sleeping bruxism include:

  • Reducing stress with exercise, yoga, or meditation.
  • Jaw and mouth exercises that relax the muscles.
  • Practicing the right mouth and jaw position for proper alignment.
  • Treating any other sleep disorders that you have.

It can be difficult to stop teeth grinding depending on the cause. To protect your teeth from bruxism that won’t go away, discuss device options with your dentist. Splints and mouth guards are devices that will protect your teeth from night grinding. In severe cases, you may need dental correction to reshape the surface of your teeth.

Protect Your Teeth with Lifetime Family Dental

If you clench your teeth during the day or grind them in your sleep, your teeth are at risk. Always let your dentist know about any unusual tooth, jaw, or mouth problems you are experiencing. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, we offer the best solutions for protecting your teeth in every situation. Schedule an appointment with us by calling 480-409-5863 today.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/28/2021). Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash