Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a condition in which the top and bottom rows of teeth rub against each other. Although some people know they grind their teeth, others are largely unaware of it. This is because bruxism often happens at night while you sleep. However, there are several signs that you might be grinding your teeth while sleeping or during times of stress. Here are a few of them!
You Wake Up with a Headache
Grinding your teeth puts immense pressure on your jaw. Your teeth are not supposed to touch—even in its resting position, the jaw shouldn’t allow for your top and bottom rows of teeth to come together. The only time this should happen is while chewing. When you grind your teeth, the pressure that’d you’d normally put on your food to grind it up is now being exerted on your teeth. In fact, if you’re unconscious of your grinding, the force could be as much as ten times the pressure you put out while chewing. Without a mouthguard to protect your teeth, your muscles end up absorbing the majority of this force, leading to tight, tense muscles and tension headaches upon waking.
Your Teeth Are Sensitive or Loose
Sensitive teeth are a sign that your enamel has been damaged. This means the protective layer over your teeth has worn away from teeth grinding and your teeth are now sensitive to temperature. If you notice even a bit of sensitivity where there wasn’t sensitivity before, visit your dentist to see if you could have enamel damage from bruxism. If it’s loose teeth you’re noticing, this may be a sign of damaged ligaments. As bruxism continues, the ligaments and other tissue that help hold your teeth in place in your jaw can become inflamed. When this happens, your teeth may feel loose or move when touched.
You Have a Sore Jaw
A sore jaw is another sign that bruxism is happening. This is because of the pressure your jaw is putting on your teeth. Without something to absorb that pressure, your jaw can become tight and sore. You may even begin exhibiting symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, where the jaw is sore even when chewing or speaking.
Your Teeth Are Damaged
You might be able to see that your teeth are damaged, or your dentist might tell you. Damaged teeth could include worn down enamel which can lead to dental caries or discoloration. It could mean your gum tissue is inflamed and causing gum recession or bleeding. Teeth may also be cracked or chipped from your nightly grinding. Your dentist can take a closer look at your smile and be able to tell if you’re grinding your teeth. Damaged teeth will need to be repaired in order to prevent future problems.
Fortunately, teeth grinding is a treatable condition. Wearing a custom night guard for your mouth can help stop the impact of bruxism on your teeth. You’ll be able to eliminate your symptoms and protect your smile while you work on other stress relieving techniques to help stop grinding for good!
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