Are your teeth or jaws sore when you wake up in the morning? You may be clenching or grinding your teeth at night without even knowing it.
Clenching or grinding your teeth, technically known as, bruxism, can be caused by numerous things, such as stress, caffeine and alcohol consumption, and even smoking.
Because your jaw is in movement during the night, your body is not resting to fall into a deep sleep. Experts say that during nighttime bruxism, the upper and lower teeth come into contact up to 40 minutes per hour and with a force of up to 250 lbs on particular teeth. This is why you can wake up with sore teeth/jaws and can feel tired. During normal chewing, your teeth come together for a total of 20 minutes a day with 20-40 lbs of pressure.1
You can also grind or clench your teeth unconsciously during the day. It may be mild, but if done often enough, it can lead to jaw joint problems and damaged teeth (teeth may become loose, fracture or wear down).
For bruxism issues during the day, the best thing to do is be aware of it. Catch yourself doing it and stop yourself. Also, avoid chewing gum and activities such as chewing on pencils as this leads to jaw muscles learning the habit of clenching. Relax those jaws!
If you suffer from headaches, a sore or stiff jaw, tenderness in the jaw joint or sore teeth, most likely you could be a night grinder. Obviously when you are unaware of the behavior, you can’t consciously stop it. Szmanda Dental Center recommends a bite guard or night guard to help with sleep bruxism. This appliance is relatively inexpensive and can save your teeth from being damaged. It’s a short appointment that requires an impression, which will get sent to a lab for the guard to be made and within a few days, you could be feeling relief from any soreness or teeth issues due to grinding.
Sometimes we even recommend something as simple as a bite adjustment done in our office to align your teeth more ideally and that can take care of minor bruxism issues.
If you suspect you might be a grinder/clencher and have questions or concerns about it, please talk to the doctors at Szmanda Dental Center. They can take a look to see if there is any telltale signs on your teeth from bruxism or talk to you about your symptoms and then come up with a solution for your particular issue. We are here to help you so please don’t hesitate to ask!
Information compiled from the American Dental Association, The Mayo Clinic Staff, WebMD, Caring.com and Staff at Szmanda Dental Center © Szmanda Dental Center, | 1 Caring.com (Melanie Haiken)