Teeth grinding and teeth clenching – also known as bruxism – are conditions that medical and dental professionals can help with. People with bruxism unconsciously clench or grind their teeth when they are awake or asleep. Awake bruxism is sometimes associated with contact sports, high-intensity workouts or severe stress. As for sleep bruxism, it can be loud enough to wake up your sleep partner.
Causes of sleep bruxism
Sleep bruxism may be due to multiple causes. Disturbances that occur in the transition from deep sleep to wakefulness may result in teeth grinding. Immature chewing patterns may also account for night-time teeth grinding. In some cases, the alignment of teeth and facial muscles is responsible for this condition. In other cases, it is psychological factors such as stress and hardship that are the culprits.
Diagnosing sleep bruxism
In most cases, people learn they have sleep bruxism from their sleep partner. You may suspect you have the condition if you experience unexplained tightness in the muscles in your jaw. You may also feel increased sensitivity to cold and pressure in your mouth, affecting both your teeth and bones, when you wake up. Some people with sleep bruxism wake up with a headache that goes away on its own during the course of the day.
If you’ve been told or if you suspect that you grind your teeth in your sleep – or if you find that you clench your teeth when engaging in vigorous exercise or training – please come see us at Comfort Care Dental Clinic for an examination. We’ll get to the bottom of if!
Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding
The most common signs and symptoms of bruxism are:
- Worn-down teeth surfaces
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Sensitive teeth, especially to cold and pressure
- Pain to the touch in the jaw, temple or face
- Pain to the touch in front of the ear
- Unexplained and disturbing sounds in the ear
Is bruxism harmful?
It is! By grinding your teeth you can negatively affect how your teeth and muscles function, leading to the symptoms listed above. Teeth grinding can also cause tinnitus, a perception of noise or ringing in the ears caused in this case by increasing pressure in the bones in the mouth. In addition, teeth grinding frequently causes headaches, ranging from mild to severe.
Can teeth grinding cause cavities?
While bruxism doesn’t directly cause cavities, it does allow cavities to occur more easily. How? By chipping away at the surface of the teeth, bruxism creates areas that are more difficult to clean. The build-up of food and bacteria in these areas make them more vulnerable to cavities.
Can bruxism cause neck pain or neuralgia?
Bruxism causes compression in the jaw and face. As a result, nerves may rub against each other and other structures more intensely and wear off their protective sheathing. Damage in nerve-sheathing alters the flow of signals in the nerves and overloads the trigeminal nervous system, which carries feeling in the face. This leads to wrong interpretation of the signals in the brain and pain along the nerves.
Take action against teeth clenching
If you have even a few of the symptoms of bruxism listed above, please call our clinic to schedule a visit. If careful examination leads us to a diagnosis of habitual teeth grinding, we can produce a personalized bruxism apparatus for you, which is designed to interrupt the cycle of clenching and grinding and provide your muscles with an opportunity to relax. The compressive forces on your teeth and bones will be significantly reduced; as a result, the excessive rubbing of tissue against tissue will stop and damage to your nerves prevented.
Did you know?
You can prevent awake bruxism by using a mouth guard. Mouth guards are sold in sports equipment stores – but before you purchase one, please come see us to make sure a mouth guard is the right solution. Mouth guards are covered by most dental insurance plans, and we can help you submit a claim.
Looking for professional help in downtown Montreal for dealing with teeth grinding?
At Comfort Care Dental Clinic, we provide advice and services designed to resolve teeth-grinding and teeth-clenching problems effectively. Come meet our team of dedicated dental professionals at our clinic conveniently located at 2045 Stanley Street, Suite 1100, in downtown Montreal – just a two-minute walk from Peel metro station.