Grinding your teeth is a significant health issue that should never be ignored or chalked up to stress. Teeth grinding can lead to many long-term health issues and wreak havoc on your oral health, too. If you think stress, anxiety, or poor alignment create the chronic habit of grinding while you sleep, it's time to speak with your dentist.
For those less in tune, here are five daily signs that you're grinding your teeth in your sleep.
Sign #1: You Wake Up With Tooth or Jaw Pain
Your stress plays a significant role in your body's overall health, and different parts of the body may suffer from our stresses. If you find yourself waking up with intense headaches and radiating pain or soreness in the jaw or lower face, chances are you have been grinding your teeth in your sleep - maybe without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth causes the muscles in your jaw, neck, and shoulders to experience constant muscle spasms. If your pain tends to worsen in the morning, feels like a dull ache, and centers around your jaw, grinding could be your issue.
Sign #2: Your Tooth Enamel Is Worn Down
When your dental enamel wears away, it leaves your teeth looking shorter and darker in color. Not only does grinding your teeth wear down the dental enamel, but it exposes the dentin in your teeth which can then make your teeth take on a yellow or even orange color. Lost enamel also leads to an increase in potential cavities and can make the chewing surfaces of your teeth feel rough and jagged.
Sign #3: Teeth Look or Feel Broken, Chipped or Flat
When you grind your teeth, you're forcing unequal pressure on the chewing surfaces of your teeth that can fracture or weaken the teeth and your natural enamel. This type of pressure placed on the teeth can cause them to chip or break.
Sign #4: Your Gums Are Receding
Are you starting to notice a little more tooth when you smile in the mirror? Receding gums can happen for a few reasons, one of the main contributors being Bruxism. If you have a problem with clenching and grinding your teeth, placing that pressure on your teeth can lead to gum recession. Let your dentist know right away if you notice a change in your gum line, as it could also be a symptom of periodontal disease.
Sign #5: Your Teeth Are Very Sensitive
As your natural enamel wears away, your teeth become more prone to sensitivity, making it difficult for you to enjoy your favorite treats like ice cream or sip a hot cup of coffee. When sensitivity becomes a significant issue, there can be tiny cracks that develop in your enamel which is very uncomfortable. Your dentist can use dental bonding for mild damage, a tooth-colored resin that fills in the existing cracks caused by grinding your teeth.
Treatments For Teeth Grinding
Once you have identified with your dentist's help that you have been grinding your teeth, it's time to find a treatment that works for you and your lifestyle to correct the damages that have occurred and prevent additional issues from occurring. There's no one solution, but there are several treatments that can help you manage Bruxism.
Common and effective treatments for teeth grinding include:
- Reducing Stress
- Drinking more water
- Getting more sleep
- Not chewing gum or other chewy foods
- Investing in a custom mouthguard
- Avoiding the use of alcohol which can make teeth grinding worse
- Avoiding caffeine
Always Invest In Yourself and Your Teeth
While there is no single answer to cure for Bruxism, it can be easily managed with some effort from you and help from your dentist. With a treatment plan from Tompkins Dental and a custom night guard, you can lessen your symptoms and avoid major dental work in the future that is caused by grinding your teeth. Contact us today to schedule your appointment for a custom nightguard to help you sleep more soundly and stop your teeth from grinding.