If you’ve ever had someone suggest that you sound like you are chewing on rocks while you sleep, it’s a sure thing you are a nighttime bruxer, or teeth grinder. Sometimes the signs aren’t that obvious. Here are a few ways we can tell you might be grinding your teeth.
Sore Jaws and Clicking or Popping of the Joint
The joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull can handle quite a bit of wear and tear but when it’s not allowed to find a comfortable and stable resting place at night, damage starts to occur. Waking up in the morning with a sore jaw or not being able to chew comfortably is a good sign that the joint is being overworked. A dysfunctional jaw joint can also make some disturbing pops and click as it is used.
Headaches, Ear, Neck or Facial Muscle Pains
All of the muscles and nerves in the face are all closely connected so when the jaw joint and muscles that support it are stressed out or inflamed, others along the neck and head may follow suit.
Abfractions and Receding Gums
When our teeth bend and flex under pressure, the weak gumline tooth structure can actually flake off, leaving a thin and unprotected tooth out in the open. Sometimes the tissue recedes away from its normal position as well.
Loose or Crooked Teeth and Worn Down Teeth
Bone forming cells are constantly at work regenerating faster in your jaw than anywhere else in your body. Teeth that are under stress may actually start to move around and bone can deteriorate under traumatic occlusion and nighttime grinding. Once a tooth is in motion, it will stay in motion unless some type of intervention comes into play. Not everyone who grinds their teeth will notice flat spots or chipped teeth. These are usually extreme cases that have continued for quite a while.
Waking up Frequently
Whether you have a day job or take the night shift, time in your bed for sleeping should be a time to relax, repair and rest. Unfortunately, many people wake up multiple times during their slumber because their jaw just can’t find a comfortable spot to rest. This is a classic case of bruxism where the jaw either slides repeatedly from side to side or the jaw muscles tense up and lock.
There are a few types of sensitivity that are linked to clenching or grinding. These include sensitivity to;
- Temperature or air
- Chewing or brushing
- Certain foods
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to spot a grinder, and some of these symptoms all happen at the same time. There are even cases where the patient has no clue that they have been clenching and end up finding out during a routine dental examination. Unfortunately many cases go untreated for too long and some people just hope for the best. We don’t believe in the “wait and see if it gets better” theory at Daxon Dentistry. We want our patients to receive the interceptive care today to ensure a healthy and happy tomorrow.