16 Sep 2020

Stop Teeth Grinding with Nightguards for Bruxism

There are plenty of threats to your mouth that you already know to avoid. You brush and floss to prevent decay, visit the dentist twice a year for preventative care, and try to choose water instead of soda. 

But there are other sneaky problems that can diminish your oral health without you even realizing it. Nighttime teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is one such problem. 

If you often experience headaches and jaw pain during the day, you could be one of the 8% of adults suffering from bruxism. 

Teeth grinding is a serious issue that poses a threat to your dental health and overall comfort. Nobody wants to walk around with teeth grinding-induced migraines all day! Here’s what you need to know about this dangerous habit and how you can stop it with nightguards for bruxism. 

Why Do You Grind Your Teeth at Night?

If you have bruxism, you clench and grind your teeth while you sleep. This nighttime gnashing may be triggered by a few different causes.

Anxiety and Stress

It’s human nature to clench your muscles when you’re feeling angry, stressed, or overwhelmed. However, that muscle clenching causes you to grind your teeth together as well. It’s an action that occurs automatically and subconsciously. You may not be aware of it at all!. 

So it’s no surprise that research suggests daytime stress and anxiety play a huge role in nighttime grinding. You’re more likely to clench your  jaw and move it back and forth while you sleep if you’re consumed by worry and stress over issues relating to your finances, career, or relationships. 

Medical Conditions

Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and amphetamines are all known to cause nighttime tooth grinding. If you’re using any medications that fall under those categories, they have the potential to cause this issue while you sleep. 

There are also neurological conditions like Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease that may cause uncontrollable gnashing behaviors. Though the side effects of these conditions and medications can’t always be controlled, nightguards for bruxism can minimize the damage that occurs in your mouth. 

Existing Dental Problems

Existing dental problems often make grinding behavior even worse. Misalignment prevents your teeth from meeting correctly when the jaw opens and closes. This makes it more likely for clenching and gnashing to occur, especially as you sleep. 

Signs and Symptoms of Nighttime Teeth Grinding

Nighttime tooth grinding is tricky to identify because it occurs when you’re in a deep sleep, unable to control the actions of your mouth.

Many people discover they have bruxism due to the side effects related to chronic teeth grinding. Since nighttime grinding puts so much pressure on the muscles, tissues, and teeth, symptoms can be felt long after the sun rises.  

A few of the most common bruxism symptoms include the following:

  • Jaw pain and stiffness
  • Sore gums
  • Sensitive or broken teeth
  • Clicking jaw joints
  • Chronic dull headaches
  • Earaches
  • Flat, short, or blunt teeth surfaces

If you sleep in the same bed or room as another person, you can ask that person to listen for sounds of grinding overnight. The scraping sound of teeth grinding over each other is usually disruptive, unpleasant, and easy to hear. 

The Damage Caused By Nighttime Teeth Grinding 

Bruxism threatens the health of your teeth by wearing them down, sometimes until they’re nothing but stumps. When your teeth become fractured, loose, or damaged, you may find yourself needing bridges, crowns, implants, or even dentures in order to save your mouth and reduce your pain. 

In addition to the direct damage to your teeth, bruxism also can lead to tension headaches, facial pain, and a condition called TMJ disorder that is defined by problems with the jaw and facial muscles. All of these problems cause enough pain to interrupt your daily activities and create unbearable suffering. 

How to Treat Teeth Grinding with Nightguards for Bruxism

Your dentist is the most qualified professional to help you treat and prevent future nighttime teeth grinding. While you’re waiting to see your dentist, use these DIY tips to reduce the threat of bruxism while you sleep:

  • Use stress reduction techniques
  • Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room
  • Remove all sources of blue light (TVs, computers, phones) from your room
  • Sleep on your side or stomach

The experienced dental team at San Diego General Dentistry can help you stop teeth grinding with the simple, painless, non-invasive use of nightguards for bruxism. Dr. William V. Carlo, D.M.D. and Dr. Scott O’Brien, DDS are committed to using the most efficient treatments to protect and restore your natural smile. 

Nightguards for bruxism are designed and customized to meet your specific teeth grinding problems. The soft inner layer of every nightguard feels comfortable along the teeth and gums, while the hard, durable copolyester outer layer stops your teeth from its instinctive grinding and clenching behavior while you sleep. 

This type of strategic mouthguard design reduces tooth-on-tooth grinding and keeps the jaw in line to prevent chronic facial pain and tension headaches. 

Get Your Dentist’s Help to Save Your Teeth With Nightguards for Bruxism

Left untreated, nighttime tooth grinding can wear down your teeth and leave you in chronic pain. If you have been experiencing frequent jaw discomfort, daytime fatigue, or dull headaches, ask Dr. William V. Carlo to examine your mouth for signs of bruxism and recommend the best non-invasive treatment. 

Dr. Carlo will perform a comprehensive clinical examination to identify the extent of your bruxism and suggest potential causes and treatments. Whether you need to realign your bite, treat an underlying health condition, or use a mouth guard, your specialized team at San Diego General Dentistry in San Diego, CA are the best professionals to help you protect your one and only smile.