Do you ever wake up with a painful jaw? Do you frequently wake up with a headache? Has a friend or family member ever told you that you grind your teeth at night? Bruxism, often known as teeth grinding, is a reasonably common problem that many people experience. Most people clench or grind their teeth occasionally, but if it becomes a habit, it can harm your oral health and should be addressed.
It is known that typically daytime clenching is prompted by stress, anxiety, tension, and even concentration. However, nighttime grinding is typically related to sleep apnea, acid reflux, and can appear as a side effect of certain medications. Additionally, individuals that use tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, or illicit drugs are more at risk for teeth-grinding.
Teeth grinding can cause dental pain, headaches, tooth fractures, and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ Syndrome).
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the complex joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. It’s located on either side of your face, right in front of your ears, and is composed of both hinge-like and sliding mechanisms. TMJ disorder, or TMD, is a condition that affects your temporomandibular joint and/or the muscles and ligaments attached to it.
Your dentist will typically outfit you with a night guard to prevent further damage to your teeth and jaw if you’re suffering bruxism, although this won’t stop the grinding. Depending on the cause of the bruxism, your medical provider may recommend the following treatments: