Could you be grinding your teeth without realizing you are doing so?

Bruxism is the involuntary or habitual grinding of the teeth, typically during sleep. If you suffer from bruxism you may be unconsciously clenching your teeth together during the day, or clenching and/or grinding them at night. This habit can lead to jaw disorders, damaged teeth, headaches, snoring, sleep apnea and other problems.

There are many factors that can lead to Bruxism.
• Stress and anxiety can play a major role in causing you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth.
• It’s recognized that psychological problems can also trigger episodes of sleep bruxism.
• Sleep disorders can also lead to grinding.
• People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are more often than not grinding their teeth while asleep. Other sleep disorders that aid in the wearing down of enamel are mumbling while sleeping, sleep walking and sleep paralysis.
• Some antidepressants are also linked to bruxism.
• Lifestyle choices also play a major role in developing bruxism. Smoking, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, recreational drug use and drinking large amount of caffeine can lead to bruxism.

Signs and symptoms of Bruxism include:
• Jaw or face pain
• Muscle soreness
• Loud grinding that may wake up your partner
• Teeth that have been worn down, flattened, chipped, lose or fractured
• Tooth sensitivity
• Dull headache originating in the temples
• Pain that may mimic a headache

It’s best to see your dentist as soon as possible if you begin to notice that your teeth are damaged, sensitive or you have pain in your jaw, face or ears. In most cases treatment is necessary to prevent a more significant problem. We routinely recommend a custom made night-guard (orthotic) to help prevent further wear. Patients notice a major difference just after a few nights of wearing the appliance. Sometimes dental correction may be needed. All cases are different and unique; therefore it is important to see a professional trained in TMJ so you can be properly diagnosed.

Contact our office at 407-830-8613 if you feel you experience any of these signs or symptoms!

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