Have you ever woken up with a sore jaw, headache, or tired face muscles? You may be clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth at night. Although it’s relatively normal to clench your teeth every once in a while, especially if you’re very stressed, regularly grinding your teeth could indicate a condition known as bruxism.
Bruxism can cause various dental issues, including fractures, cracks, chips, and worn enamel. However, there are a few tips you can try to stop yourself from grinding your teeth while you sleep.
What are the Symptoms of Teeth Grinding?
The primary symptom of sleep bruxism is uncontrolled teeth grinding and clenching while a person sleeps. These movements often resemble chewing but typically involve much greater force. Unfortunately, it’s common for people who grind their teeth at night not to be aware of their condition unless their partner tells them about it. However, there are other, less obvious symptoms of bruxism, such as:
- Painful, sensitive, or loose teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Sore jaw and facial muscles
- Headaches, especially in the morning
- Disrupted sleep
- TMJ issues
- Pain while eating
- Neck pain
If you suspect you’re grinding your teeth at night, it’s best to see a doctor or dentist. They can examine your teeth, jaw muscles, and TMJ for signs of bruxism and recommend proper treatment, if necessary.
Treatment for Nighttime Teeth Grinding
There are no medications to treat bruxism. However, the most popular treatment option is a nightguard, which protects patients’ teeth while they sleep. These custom mouthguard-like trays are placed in your mouth before bed, shielding your teeth and jaw muscles from the force exerted during grinding.
Other ways of coping with nighttime teeth grinding include:
- Avoiding alcohol, drugs, and smoking, which can worsen bruxism
- Avoiding or reducing caffeine intake, including coffee and sodas
- Avoiding hard, chewy, and sticky foods, such as gum, nuts, popcorn, and hard candies
- Treating other dental issues, such as misaligned or missing teeth
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Massaging the jaw muscles
- Adjusting your sleeping position
When to See a Doctor
If you experience pain in your mouth, neck, or jaw due to teeth grinding, it’s best to speak with your doctor or dentist for a professional diagnosis. Sleep bruxism can severely impact your oral health, but a healthcare professional can help prevent more serious issues down the road.
Although there is no actual cure for nighttime teeth grinding, professional bruxism treatment from a dentist can help you manage your symptoms and get a better night’s sleep. At Premier Dental Center San Antonio in Naco, we offer various treatments for patients suffering from teeth grinding, including custom night guards. If you’re searching for bruxism treatment in the San Antonio area, contact us today.