You might be suffering from bruxism disorder if you often wake up with aching jaw muscles or a severe headache. Bruxism is often characterised by grinding, clenching, squeezing, or gnashing of teeth, often done instinctively. Frequent spells of teeth grinding will cause teeth to become loose or painful, and eventually strip away the valuable tooth enamel which protects them. Bruxism disorder primarily affects its victims during sleep, bringing about several other disorders, such as sleep apnea. If you're uncertain if you have bruxism, a visit to the dentist can help you diagnose the symptoms and establish whether or not you are suffering from the disorder.
Signs of bruxism
For the majority of people, bruxism disorder occurs unconsciously. In fact, they won't know they are doing it until their spouse informs them that they often produce horrible crushing sounds while asleep. If you perceive any of these symptoms, chances are you may be suffering from bruxism:
- Heavily worn down teeth may be an indication of bruxism
- Worn down tooth enamel may also be a sign of bruxism
- Rhythmic tightening of the jaw muscles
- Painful or tight jaw muscles
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Facial pain and fatigue
- Sharp pain experienced in the temporomandibular joint.
The applied treatment for each case of bruxism depends on the actual cause of the disorder. Through a proper diagnosis of the state of your teeth and jawbone, your dentist can establish what's causing the problem. Therefore, your dentist may recommend:
- Putting on a mouth guard while sleeping. The appliance is customised based on your mouth structure and slips on top of the upper teeth to protect them from making forceful contact with the lower teeth. Even though wearing a mouth guard can help manage the disorder, it does not cure the disorder.
- Given that everyday stress can result in teeth grinding at night, stress-reducing exercises may help be of help. For example, reading a book, listening to music or taking a walk may calm down the mind. Moreover, applying a warm, humid washcloth on either side of your face can help loosen up tight and painful jaw muscles caused by clenching. Your dentist can advise you on several other effective ways for dealing with stressful situations.
- Another treatment option is to reduce the potential high spots in your teeth. If you have an abnormal bite, your dentist may correct it with crowns, orthodontics or new fillings.
Although teeth grinding affects many people, you don't have to suffer any longer. Visit your dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.