Bruxism is a condition in which you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth. This condition can occur during the day or night. However, it can be more difficult to detect if it occurs at night, in which case it’s called sleep bruxism. If you’re one of the many people who suffer from this condition, it’s time to get the expert treatment you need to find lasting relief.

The providers at Le Dentistry & Associates in Norcross, Georgia, want your teeth to stay safe and healthy all day and all night. In this blog, they explain signs that could indicate you suffer from sleep bruxism, and they also discuss its complications and how it can be treated.

The basics of bruxism

It’s normal to grind or clench your teeth now and then throughout the day. However, if it’s a habit, you could develop a slew of side effects and complications. Clenching and grinding could erode your teeth and even file down the surfaces of your molars.

If you know you grind your teeth, you might be able to consciously break the habit. But, if you grind your teeth during your sleep, you might not even know you’re doing it.

Nobody knows exactly what causes sleep bruxism. However, certain risk factors may increase your chances of developing bruxism, including the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cigarettes

Sleep apnea is also associated with bruxism. Even certain medications might cause you to grind your teeth at night.

Warning signs of sleep bruxism

Even if you think you sleep soundly and your teeth are safe, your body could be telling you otherwise. Here are some common symptoms of sleep bruxism:

Ringing in your ears

Teeth grinding puts stress on the joints that hold your jaw in place. These joints are called the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), and they sit just in front of your ears. Teeth grinding that lasts all night can strain these joints, which can affect the bones and muscles associated with your ears. You may hear a low hum, whistle, buzzing, or ringing in your ears, which is a condition known as tinnitus.

Chronic headaches

Do you ever wake up with a headache that bothers you throughout the day? Morning headaches could be a sign that you’re grinding your teeth at night and overworking the muscles in your head, neck, and jaw.

TMJ and muscle pain

When the muscles in your face and jaw are working overtime, you might experience referred pain. For instance, clenching your jaw might also make your shoulders and neck tense up and ache. It’s even possible to end up with pain and soreness over your entire body. And, if you have TMJ pain, this could make it difficult to open and close your mouth.

Complications of bruxism

Untreated bruxism can severely impact your well-being. Besides the daily struggle with tension headaches and jaw pain, you could seriously damage your teeth.

Hours of teeth grinding could break down your teeth’s protective enamel, which could leave you vulnerable to tooth sensitivity and decay. Teeth might even flatten, chip, or fall out. You also run the risk of damaging crowns and other restorations.

Treating bruxism

Fortunately, treating bruxism is usually simple. Our dentists create a customized oral appliance that you wear at night to cushion your upper and lower sets of teeth. We may also recommend certain lifestyle adjustments, such as managing stress, getting more exercise, and quitting smoking.

You don’t have to spend another day suffering with achy joints, tinnitus, or headaches. If you’re tired of the frustrating symptoms and are ready to get a full night of restful sleep, book an appointment over the phone with Le Dentistry & Associates today.

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