Teeth Grinding in Your Sleep

If you suffer from headaches and sore teeth every morning, you may be grinding your teeth at night, which can have many adverse side effects. The earlier our Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics team can diagnose you, the better! We are here to share the consequences teeth grinding in your sleep can have on your life and how to best manage the condition.

What is Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a dental issue in which one clenches or gnashes their teeth during sleep. If undiagnosed for an extended period, it can wear your teeth down to stumps, thus requiring avoidable procedures such as bridges or crowns. Grinding may also cause long-term pain and tooth fractures. Each case differs in intensity and frequency. 


Stress and Anxiety

Often related to stressful situations and emotions, teeth grinding is a physical reliever for the body to get nerves out. You can unknowingly be grinding your teeth throughout the night when you go to sleep feeling anxious. Being regularly bothered by these feelings forces your jaw muscles to clench up as a reaction to stress hormones like cortisol activating.

Lifestyle Choices

Teeth grinding can also be caused by hyperactivity due to excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption close to bedtime. While not the main contributor to this condition, the intake of these drinks can cause feelings of restlessness. When your body is meant to be winding down for the day, you instead experience unnatural sleeping patterns.

Teeth Grinding in Your Sleep

Side Effects

Unfortunately, you may be unaware of the issue until complications arise. Some common symptoms include morning jaw stiffness, headaches, and temperature-sensitive teeth. Problems with your jaw joint popping, commonly known as TMD, can also occur. 

From mild clenching to chronic grinding, the effects of bruxism range depending on how regular the action occurs. If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, or you believe you suffer from bruxism, please contact Dr. Cowan or Dr. Whitaker so our team can help you determine the best next steps!

How to Manage Bruxism

Luckily, bruxism is a treatable condition our office has much experience helping patients with. You can manage it in many ways, and a common place to start is with a night mouthguard. This plastic appliance fits over your teeth at night and keeps your teeth from directly touching, with the mouthguard taking the brunt of the impact of grinding. 

Our team also recommends reducing caffeine and alcohol intake at night to avoid keeping your body hyperactive so late. Instead, slowly ease your body into a restful state while decreasing stress come nightfall. You may also choose to get to the root of your anxiety by discussing what is causing these negative emotions with a professional.

Teeth Grinding in Your Sleep

Put Your Teeth Grinding To A Halt

Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics is dedicated to helping patients work through bruxism. We can help you maintain healthy teeth and a peaceful night’s rest. Call our Tuscaloosa office today at 205-526-4070 to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Cowan or Dr. Whitaker!

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