There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep. But what do you do when you wake up feeling worse than you did before going to bed? If you’re waking up with a headache or experiencing earaches and jaw issues, your teeth may actually be to blame. Many people suffer from a condition called bruxism without even knowing it. If you’ve never heard of that condition, read on to find our answers to all your questions about what is bruxism and what to do about it.
Breaking Down Bruxism
Bruxism –– otherwise known as teeth clenching or grinding –– typically occurs at night and can be the result of a sleep disorder or even stress during the day. Regardless of why you suffer from bruxism, there’s no question that it can cause quite a bit of damage. Not only does your smile suffer, but nighttime teeth grinding can also damage your jaw, negatively affect the way your teeth fit together, and cause jaw and head pain throughout the day.
While the exact symptoms and severity of bruxism can vary from person to person, there are a few signs to look out for, including the following:
- Recurring headaches, especially when waking up in the morning
- Toothaches with no apparent cause
- Clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw
- Unexplained earaches
- Gum recession
- Loosening teeth
- Increased tooth sensitivity
If you’re experiencing one or more of the listed symptoms, it’s important to act quickly. Reach out to your general dentist for an exam. If nighttime teeth grinding and clenching is to blame, it’s best to treat it quickly before more damage is done to your teeth.
How to Treat Bruxism
While there’s no cure for bruxism, there are multiple treatment options to help diminish nighttime grinding and give you a better night’s sleep.
The first and most important step is to evaluate your stress levels during the day. We all must live with a certain level of stress, but finding ways to manage that stress can help with the frequency and severity of your bruxism symptoms.
Adding a consistent exercise routine throughout the week is a wonderful way to alleviate stress, as is listening to calming music and evening practicing positive self-talk. Consider implementing bedtime rituals like taking a warm bath, journaling, meditation, or even light stretching to help release the stress of the day. Practicing stress-management techniques is the easiest –– and least expensive! –– way to deal with bruxism.
If you’re still suffering from nighttime teeth grinding even after eliminating daytime stress, your dentist will have options, like a night guard, that might help. A night guard is a custom-made accessory you wear over your top teeth that will prevent the jaws from grinding or clenching against one another. Night guards can help with the symptoms of bruxism, and also prevent any further damage from being done.
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea sometimes cause bruxism, and may require more advanced treatment. If that’s the case for you, your dentist might recommend using a mandibular advancement device to bring your bottom jaw forward while you sleep to better protect your teeth.
Convenient Treatment for Your Teeth Clenching Pain
As dental specialists here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, we’re concerned for your overall oral health. That’s why it’s important to make an appointment with your regular dentist if you’re experiencing the symptoms of bruxism.
Unsure if your tooth pain is caused by bruxism or a different condition? We can help! Our team of endodontists works to accurately diagnose the cause of tooth pain and quickly provide customized treatment. With offices conveniently located in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, convenient care is just a call away. Contact us to schedule your evaluation today!