Do you wake up in the morning with sore jaws, sensitive teeth, or headaches? Do your teeth look flat or too square? Has your spouse told you that you were making strange noises with your teeth in the middle of the night?
These may be signs and symptoms of sleep bruxism, or grinding your teeth while you sleep.
That sounds like me! How can Gladnick Family and Cosmetic Dentistry help?
Grinding your teeth at night is very common, and many people don’t even know they’re doing it. Tons of patients only find out because their spouse hears them grinding their teeth in their sleep or a dentist identifies the signs of grinding during a dental exam. Some signs include flattened chewing surfaces, thinned enamel, and gum recession.
Bruxism can be just as damaging to teeth as cavities, and without early intervention and use of a night guard, more expensive and time-consuming treatments will be necessary to properly restore dental structure and function.
The causes of sleep bruxism aren’t completely understood, but research has indicated that interruptions in breathing (sleep apnea), stress, and the use of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are associated with bruxism. SSRIs are commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Luckily, there is a very simple and effective treatment for this – night guards. Night guards are custom-fitted plastic mouth guards that are made to fit your teeth. They provide a layer of protection between your teeth so that the force of your bite is distributed evenly to the night guard and not to your teeth.
I don’t think I grind my teeth while I sleep, but I do clench my teeth at work. What can I do about this?
Whether it’s your job, your kids, your in-laws, or good ol’ Beltway traffic, we understand that there are numerous potential stressors in our daily lives. Daytime clenching and grinding is very common, and can result in many of the same symptoms as nighttime grinding.
The good news is that there are also comfortable daytime appliances patients can wear that both protect the teeth and act as habit reminders. These keep the teeth safe from destructive pressure and help keep patients aware of the clenching and grinding habit.
We only get one set of permanent teeth, and in today’s stressful world there are any number of things that can cause us to develop habits detrimental to our dental health. Not only are our teeth at risk, but headaches and jaw pain can be continual frustrations that take the joy out of eating.
If you think you might be grinding your teeth at night or you have experienced any of the symptoms discussed above, call (301) 963-0800 for an evaluation today.