Many people may notice from time to time that after waking up from an otherwise restful sleep, they may experience discomfort in the jaw or a sharp headache for no good reason. If your mouth feels tense or you feel pain in your temples, there is a chance you may suffer from a condition known as bruxism. While it is pretty common for adults, it is more likely to occur with children. It can result in many harmful side-effects, which is why it is important to talk to us here at Geelan Dental Care if you or someone you know someone may have it.
What Is Bruxism?
The act of grinding your teeth is known as bruxism. It is not normally easily detected in most people because of how much it varies for the individual. Bruxism is considered a type of sleep disorder since it happens most often while you are sleeping. Although it is distinguishable through pain and tightness in the jaw, other common symptoms may include an earache or headache that lingers. Physical signs may be flatter, worn-down molars, and tooth sensitivity.
It is unknown exactly what may cause bruxism. Many speculate that when we are especially anxious that we may be more inclined to clench our teeth together in response to the stress. This grinding can usually cause premature wear on the enamel, which may lead to cracks or broken teeth. There is a correlation that those who have bruxism are more likely to also have obstructive sleep apnea, so be sure to let us know right away if you notice any signs.
Bruxism can also lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, which is also known as TMJ. Be aware of how your teeth fit together over time and listen for any clicking sounds you may hear if you open or close your mouth. We need to know about any signs of bruxism you may notice before it can become something worse. If it is allowed to progress, you may experience extreme discomfort in the joints of your jaw, and they could even lock up.
How to Treat Bruxism
Make sure you talk to us if you are concerned that you may have bruxism. We may not be able to diagnose it, but we can certainly determine if you have symptoms so you can work on preventative measures. You may consider getting a mouthguard. These can be easily purchased from many convenience stores, but getting one from us ensures an optimal fit that will protect your teeth. Mouth splints are also a viable option as they are made of hard plastic that goes over your upper or lower teeth. Although mouthguards may last up to six months, a sturdy mouth splint can last for years.
Others believe that practicing breathing techniques known to relax the body may help ease up some of the stress in your face muscles. Also, you may find that during a particularly difficult day, that rather than respond by gritting your teeth together, it may be beneficial to calmly analyze the situation rather than create further damage to your enamel. Alternatively, some suggest that it may be as easy as putting a pencil between your teeth to jaw a much-needed break from stress and possibly reduce tension.
Bruxism can be painful and cause serious dental issues down the road, but the moment you notice any symptoms, be sure to let us here at Geelan Dental Care know so we can find ways to help you with the issue. For more information on bruxism, or to ask any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (971) 323-1990 to speak with one of our helpful staff or to schedule an appointment.