SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF BRUXISM (TEETH GRINDING)

The majority of people who grind their teeth do so at night while they are sleeping, completely unaware of what they are doing. In fact, it’s often significant others who are woken up at night by the sounds of teeth crunching together in what sounds like someone chewing on gravel. Nevertheless, this habit can be extremely harmful to your teeth and oral health. Let’s review some of the signs of severe bruxism:

  • Tooth wear or damage
  • Abfractions (characteristic sharp indentations at the gum line of teeth)
  • Enlarged masticatory (chewing) muscles
  • Gum loss
  • Broken or missing dental restorations

Over time, the damage that is caused by severe bruxism can lead to irreversible changes in the mouth that lead to bigger problems. Some associated symptoms:

  • Tooth pain
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Muscle soreness
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

The majority of cases are caused by increased anxiety and stress, but other factors such as medications, recreational drug use, smoking, caffeine, and alcohol consumption can also contribute. One of the easiest ways to protect the teeth from the damage of grinding is to wear a night guard. These can easily be made simply by having your dentist take impressions of your teeth and sending them to a dental lab where the night guard is custom-fitted to your teeth. Wearing a night guard will not only protect your teeth and supporting structures (gums and bone), but in some cases it acts a splint to help support and relax the jaw muscles and joints. If you think you may grind your teeth at night, consider a night guard as a great long-term investment.