Sleep bruxism is a common condition characterized by clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth as you sleep. Just how common is it? According to the Canadian Sleep Society, approximately 14% of kids and 8% of adults grind their teeth at least a few times a week. Common as it is, it’s often undiagnosed. You may have sleep bruxism and not know it except by a cluster of symptoms that your dentists in Dryden will recognize right away.
Ready for the best news? There is a quick and simple intervention that can significantly reduce the symptoms of sleep bruxism, and it’s one that a dental clinic near you can help with — a night guard.
What are the symptoms of sleep bruxism?
Sleep bruxism causes a wide variety of symptoms that relate to your teeth and jaw, but also a broader range of symptoms.
Teeth and jaw-related symptoms of sleep bruxism include tooth pain and sensitivity, loose and chipped teeth, worn down tooth enamel, damaged crowns and bridges, flattened biting surfaces, and even bite wounds on the inside of your cheeks.
Symptoms of sleep bruxism that extend beyond your teeth include neck, face, and jaw pain; headaches in your temples that you might mistake for an earache; problems completely opening or closing your jaw; and fatigue.
What causes sleep bruxism?
The specific causes of sleep bruxism are not completely understood, but there seem to be several factors that contribute, including stress and genetic influences. Sleep bruxism is significantly more common in men than women. Clenching of your jaw and grinding of your teeth can also be caused by side effects from medication, and if your teeth or jaw are misaligned.
Sometimes teeth clenching is temporary and intermittent and resolves on its own without interventions as circumstances change. However, sleep bruxism can be a serious condition that can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. It may also overlap with a potentially serious medical condition affecting nighttime breathing known as obstructive sleep apnea.
How can night guards in Dryden help?
A night guard custom formed for you at a dentist in Dryden protects you from the symptoms of sleep bruxism by posing a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth. That night guard will protect the enamel, biting surfaces, and dental work in your teeth from the damage of clenching and grinding.
Even more than imposing that important physical barrier, a properly designed and fitting night guard will ease tension in your face, jaw, and head by relaxing your jaw joint and the muscles of your neck, face, and head. That relaxation of those muscles may free you from some of the harmful and uncomfortable strain and discomfort of sleep bruxism. For many people, a nightguard is sufficient to resolve the symptoms of sleep bruxism and even related symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. If symptoms persist after wearing your night guard for a while, your dentist in Dryden will suggest additional remedies or refer you to a specialist for more support.
Regular dental checkups are the perfect time to tell your dentist in Dryden about any symptoms affecting your neck, jaw, head, breathing, and sleep. Sleep bruxism, TMJ dysfunction, and even sleep apnea are examples of medical conditions that overlap with the importance of your oral and dental health. Your dentist and their staff will screen you for these conditions and can help with early interventions if you keep them up to date on any symptoms you experience.
If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms of sleep bruxism, contact a dental clinic near you and let them know that you’re interested in being fit for a custom night guard to protect your teeth and preserve your health.