Nocturnal Gnashing: 4 Signs You Have Sleep Bruxism

Posted On Thursday, 04 April 2019
Nocturnal Gnashing: 4 Signs You Have Sleep Bruxism

Dental professionals suggest that sleep bruxism, or nocturnal teeth grinding, is fairly common. Many people clench their teeth at night while sleeping without realizing it. However, there are several symptoms that may suggest you are grinding your teeth as you sleep.

The following signs may indicate the existence of this behavior.

You Have a Headache Upon Awakening
Morning headaches can be caused by many things, including sleep apnea or allergies. However, a tense headache that persists over several days’ time may be the result of excessive teeth clenching at night. If you do not typically experience morning headaches, you might want to mention it to your dental practitioner, especially if you notice the other symptoms of bruxism.

Your Jaws Ache
A sore jaw on either or both sides of your face might be the result of grinding your teeth at night. Your jaws might appear swollen or feel tender. In extreme cases, there may be signs of light bruising. If there are no other known sources of your jaw pain, such as sleeping awkwardly with your face distorted on the pillow, chances are it is due to teeth clenching.

Your Teeth May Become Hypersensitive
If you are grinding your teeth while asleep, some or all of your teeth could become extra sensitive. This might make it difficult to brush or floss, and you may experience difficulty in speaking or eating. Although other things can cause people’s teeth to become sore at certain times, such as chewing hard foods, chances are it is due to teeth grinding without even knowing it. Sensitivity may occur in one part of the mouth, or overall in both upper or lower teeth areas.

Your Crowns and Fillings Might Be Damaged
If you have had restorative dental work done and notice that a crown or a filling is chipped or otherwise damaged, you may want to consider the possibility of bruxism as the cause. Biting down hard on one or both sides of your mouth, night after night, can literally chip away at your restorations, which is not only painful, but can also be expensive to replace. Losing one or more fillings might be a clue of teeth-grinding.

Fortunately, bruxism, while annoying and painful, can be treated. If you have ongoing symptoms like those described above, consult your dentist to learn more about the causes of and treatment for bruxism. Early intervention has the best chance of effectively treating the problem before dental damage is done.

Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

Twitter: @LizzieWeakley

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