Sleep is intended to be a relaxing and restorative process to help us recharge for each new day. Teeth grinding or clenching can disrupt this process and cause damage to your teeth and jaw, plus bring about considerable discomfort.
If your teeth are damaged, broken or loose, you may be unknowingly grinding your teeth at night. Bruxism can result in pain or soreness in the jaw or face, earache, headache or a feeling of locked jaw where it is hard to open or close the mouth completely.
If you are concerned that your child is facing these issues or suspect that you may be grinding your teeth as you sleep, it’s best to get symptoms checked early to clear up the problem quickly. There are several effective options available for patients to consider.
If you’re like most people, stress may very well be a dominant feature in your life. Children can also experience anxiety and may have trouble dealing with their emotions. Consider learning relaxation techniques to help manage stress or worry to help reduce tension in the mouth and jaw to avoid teeth grinding. Exercise and meditation are options that will help you become more aware of stressors in life and help manage them for yourself or someone you love.
To help you relax before bed, be mindful as you drift off to sleep and work to consciously relax the muscles throughout your body, face, and mouth. Create a simple relaxation routine that you can use each night or repeat if you wake in the night to help you experience a restful sleep.
If grinding or clenching of the jaw is a major problem, a custom fitted mouth guard can be made that is worn during sleep. Professionally fitted mouth guards are highly effective, not readily noticeable, and relatively comfortable to use regularly or in times of stress to avoid the effects of bruxism. Ensuring a mouth guard is custom fitted increases the comfort level and is a valuable tool to stop teeth grinding early!
It is believed that some teeth grinding is a result of misaligned teeth or poor jaw alignment. Change to/Add: Orthodontic intervention may be the solution; either traditional braces or Invisalign. Not unlike a custom fitted mouth guard, Invisalign provides protection for the teeth but also helps correct crooked teeth or straighten teeth that are not optimally aligned. Invisalign is effective in discreetly creating better bite alignment and a beautiful smile!
Another alternative is to adjust the surface of the teeth to realign the bite to encourage a more natural connection between the upper and lower teeth and jaws. Many options exist, such as having crowns or veneers fitted, to get improved alignment and functionality in the mouth and teeth to avoid bruxism.
While the exact cause of bruxism isn’t clear, grinding of the teeth has been associated with anxiety, stress, crooked teeth, loud snoring, and even teething. No matter how or why it starts, it’s important to stop it as early as possible. Breaking the habit of sleep bruxism is worth the effort to help ensure a lifetime of oral health care. Contact us for a check up or to discuss the options that may work best for you and your family.