Do you grind your teeth at night?
If you answered ‘no’, are you sure? Many teeth-grinders aren’t even aware they’re doing it, and are baffled by what seem like unrelated symptoms in the daytime. Here’s a run-down of the tell-tale signs of teeth grinding (also called bruxism), the problems it can cause and what you can do about it.
Although 80% of teeth grinding happens at night, when you’re not even aware you’re doing it, the symptoms are present during the day.
Symptoms can include:
- Jaw ache,
- Neck pain,
- Headaches, especially in the morning,
- Pain behind your eyes or in the sinus area,
- Difficulty or pain opening your mouth, speaking and/or eating, and
- Increased teeth sensitivity.
What can you do?
If you experience any of the above symptoms it’s best to get checked out by your dentist. In the meantime, here are some self-help measures you can take to ease the pain:
- Eat a soft diet to reduce the strain on your teeth and jaws (opt for soft foods that are easy to chew or that can be chopped, ground, mashed and pureed).
- Apply heat to the area by using a wheat bag heat pack or warmed gloves.
- Massage the area (see here for techniques).
- Take a course of over-the-counter pain relief medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.
- Although difficult, try to de-stress as stress is a leading cause of bruxism.
Why should you see a dentist to treat this?
Simply managing the symptoms won’t solve the underlying problem. Bruxism can lead to serious dental health issues such as worn or broken teeth requiring fillings or crowns, loose teeth (and even tooth loss!), as well as further pain and discomfort that might not be as easily remedied.
What will a dentist do?
Simple – help to stop you grinding your teeth with pain-free, non-invasive treatment.
- We will check your jaw joint, teeth and muscles.
- We can create a mouth guard to be worn at night.
- We can discuss any sources of stress that might be causing the bruxism and make recommendations to help you reduce anxiety.
Being told you’re a teeth grinder is often a surprise but it needn’t be a bad one. After all, it’s relatively easy to remedy, so if you have any doubts why not come in and let us check you out?