woman sleeping suffers from teeth grindingTeeth grinding, or bruxism, affects 10 percent of adults and approximately 15 percent of children, according to the American Sleep Association. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that have it until a loved one points it out. Most people only grind their teeth at night as their body reacts to certain physical, genetic, and/or psychological factors like:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Caffeine
  • Malocclusion
  • Sleep apnea
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Specific medical conditions

Unless a loved one has pointed out your bruxism, you probably don’t realize you have it. However, there are several obvious symptoms you should look for.

Continue reading to learn about the symptoms and treatments for teeth grinding.

Teeth Grinding Symptoms

Bruxism can have several negative impacts on a person’s oral health and function. Here are a few of the most common symptoms of teeth grinding:

  1. Jaw soreness or tightness: Clenching and rubbing the teeth together causes enormous stress and strain on the jaw muscles. Therefore, it is extremely common for the jaw to feel sore or stiff in the morning. Additionally, teeth and facial pain may be present along with jaw clicking and popping.
  2. Worn, loose, or chipped teeth: Patients with bruxism typically show visible signs of wear on the teeth. To check your teeth, shine a light on your back molars and look for flat-topped molars, cracks in the teeth, and unexplained chips.
  3. Morning headaches: It’s common for bruxism patients to complain about headaches in the morning that stem from the temples.
  4. Dental sensitivity: Teeth grinding wears away at a person’s tooth enamel, exposing the dentin which allows heat, cold, acidic, and sticky foods to stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your local dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Treatment for Teeth Grinding

If bruxism is left untreated, it can lead to jaw disorders, severely damaged teeth, and tooth loss. To avoid these negative effects, ask your dentist about the following treatments:

  • Self-care practices: When bruxism is triggered by things like stress, high caffeine intake, and other psychological problems, reducing the cause is the best solution. Patients should eliminate or significantly reduce their caffeine intake throughout the day, exercise regularly, eat properly, and get more sleep. Meditation practices and anti-anxiety medications may also be helpful.
  • Orthodontics: If bruxism is caused by dental misalignment or a bite disorder, traditional braces or Invisalign® clear aligners can help. These appliances move the teeth into their proper positions and significantly reduce teeth grinding.
  • Mouthguards: Teeth grinding that is consistent and leads to significant damage must be stopped. One of the best and quickest ways to do that is with a custom-fitted mouthguard. These fit perfectly over the teeth, protecting them from wear and damage.
  • Oral appliance: Sleep apnea and bruxism are often connected. After talking with your sleep physician, our dentists can provide you with an oral appliance that helps you maintain an open airway while sleeping.

Get Relief from Teeth Grinding Today

The short- and long-term side effects of bruxism can be completely avoided when you visit the dentist as soon as possible. Our dentists at Metropolitan Dental Care have the experience and skill to treat teeth grinding and repair any damage it has caused.

Contact us today at (303) 534-2626 to schedule your initial consultation.