Bruxism, or the clenching and grinding of your teeth, is actually a very common condition. In fact, this affects around 40 million people in the United States alone. The difficulty with nocturnal bruxism (grinding your teeth in your sleep) is that it can be difficult to know if you’re suffering from the issue. While the best way to determine if you’re suffering from bruxism is to visit your dentist, there are a few signs you can look for in the meantime. If you have any of the following eight symptoms, you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep.
1. You have headaches when you wake up in the morning
If you wake up with headaches every morning, it may not be because you need a cup of coffee! People who grind and clench their teeth all night long often wake up with headaches in the temple region, toothaches, and earaches.
2. Pain or difficulty when opening your mouth
If you’ve been clenching your jaw throughout the night, it is possible that you’re going to experience the feeling of limited movement in the jaw or even a locked jaw, particularly in the morning.
3. Unusual sounds coming from the jaw
Do you experience painful clicking, popping, or grating sounds from the jaw when you open or close your mouth? This can also be a symptom of bruxism and should be looked into straight away!
4. Damaged teeth or broken fillings
Over time, bruxism can really wear down your teeth, even causing damage to any dental work or fillings that you have in place. It can also crack or break your teeth, so it is important to catch this in its early stages so as to avoid needing serious dental repairs.
5. Swelling on the side of your lower jaw
Chronic clenching of the teeth exercises your jaw muscles, just like lifting weights! If you begin to notice swelling on the sides of your lower jaw, it could be due to the jaw muscles growing larger. This swelling will go away once the grinding has been resolved.
6. Unexplained facial pain
If you have chronic pain in the face and temples, this could definitely be a result of grinding or clenching your teeth at night.
7. Teeth sensitivity
As your teeth grind together, you gradually wear away the outer enamel of your teeth. By doing so, you may be exposing the dentin—a layer within the tooth that is filled with microscopic tubules, providing direct access to the sensitive nerve within your tooth. Therefore, when you grind your teeth at night, you may find that you have sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures as well as pressure.
8. Grinding or squeaking sound at night, noticed by others in the room
Lastly, people often discover that they have nighttime bruxism from a partner. If someone in the room while you sleep hears a squeaking or grinding sound, this is a result of you grinding your teeth together during the night. If this should occur, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist at Countryside Dental Group right away in order to prevent further damage to your teeth.
Luckily, you do not have to suffer through nighttime bruxism. At Countryside Dental Group, we offer nightguards to protect your teeth from the damage of grinding and clenching. To learn more about how we can help you, call our offices today to schedule an appointment!