8 Signs You’re Grinding Your Teeth in Your Sleep : Teeth grinding, clenching, or gnashing is a common reaction to stress, anger, or fear. In some cases, this reaction can repeatedly happen without any immediate stressors. It can play out even at night while the person is sleeping. This involuntary condition is known as sleep bruxism.
When left untreated, sleep bruxism leads to long-term pain and poses serious issues for the teeth and jaw. The problem with this condition is that a person is less likely to know they’re doing it. Unless someone in the room notices your teeth grinding and informs you, there are a few signs you can look for in the meantime.
You experience headaches when you wake up.
If you frequently wake up with a headache even after a good night’s sleep, it’s probably because of the pressure from teeth grinding. Since you’re not aware of your bite strength while sleeping, you might grind and clench your teeth tightly. You could employ up to 250 pounds of force, putting a lot of tension in your jaw muscles. Because these muscles extend up to your temples, you will usually wake up with mild to intense pain around this area.
It’s difficult or painful to open your mouth.
Clenching and grinding your teeth can put stress and strain on your jaw muscles, making them inflamed. That’s why when you wake up, your jaw may feel sore and stiff. You may have a hard time opening your mouth to speak or chew food. In a worst-case scenario, you may also suffer from a locked jaw.
You hear unusual sounds coming from your jaw.
Teeth clenching and grinding puts you at risk of temporomandibular joint disorder. Normally, you shouldn’t hear any unusual sounds coming from your jaw when opening your mouth or chewing. If you notice a popping, clicking, or grating sound accompanied by pain in your jaw, you need to have that immediately checked.
You have chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth or fillings.
Since we’re omnivores, our teeth have sharp edges and chisel-like incisors to help chew and tear down our foods. However, the repetitive grinding motion caused by bruxism episodes can leave visible signs of strain and stress on these teeth. Over time, grinding your teeth can wear it down and even cause damage to any filling or dental work you have in place. It can chip, crack, or even loosen. It’s crucial to receive treatment for this condition in its early stages so that you won’t need serious dental repairs.
You wake up with grit in your mouth.
Waking up and finding grit in your mouth is another common sign of tooth damage caused by sleep bruxism. As you clench and grind your teeth in your sleep, you are breaking off tiny bits of enamel. These pieces of natural glass feel like sand. Since the mouth is very sensitive, it doesn’t take much to make you aware that you’re experiencing this. However, there’s a danger that you might confuse the grits for something else or ignore it since it doesn’t feel like much. It’s vital to take even the smallest amount of unexplained grit in your mouth seriously.
There’s an unexplained pain around your face.
Your facial muscles feel sore and tired in the morning because of the consistent clenching and grinding motion. Keep in mind that sleep bruxism doesn’t only affect the jaw. Our systems are all interconnected. Since jaw muscles also run up and around the temples and ears, you may also experience aches and pain around those areas.
It hurts when your teeth are exposed to hot or cold food or drinks.
As you continuously grind your teeth together, the outer enamel of your teeth gradually wears away. Without the enamel, the dentin layer becomes exposed. This layer of tissue is filled with microscopic tubules that provide direct access to the nerve within the tooth. You may find your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and even pressure. Not to mention, an exposed dentin layer means bacteria can easily infect the innermost layer of your teeth that contains nerves and blood vessels.
There’s swelling on the side of your lower jaw.
Just like a regular workout session, teeth clenching and grinding exercise your jaw muscles. With continuous episodes of sleep bruxism, you might begin to notice a swelling on the side of your lower jaw. This symptom could be due to the jaw muscles growing larger. Sleep bruxism can change the shape of your face and make your jawline wide, square, and heavy.
Since bruxism often occurs while you’re asleep, you’re usually not aware it’s happening. If you’re experiencing one or more of the signs and symptoms mentioned, you could be grinding your teeth in your sleep. It’s best to schedule a consultation with a doctor and have it resolved immediately.
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8 Signs You’re Grinding Your Teeth in Your Sleep
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