Nighttime teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a condition that can cause you to wake up with uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches and jaw pain.
Over time, consistently grinding your teeth at night also places you at risk for tooth decay and broken teeth.
But you don't have to let teeth grinding ruin your smile, since these strategies are all effective for preventing damage.
Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Strong teeth are less likely to fracture if grinding occurs. Make sure to follow the best practices to prevent tooth decay. Regular brushing and flossing are essential for keeping enamel from being weakened.
You also need to have your dentist check any fillings or restorations for damage. If they are loose or chipped, then a repair helps to stop long-term damage from happening.
Get Fitted for a Mouthguard
A special mouthguard that you wear at night provides a layer of protection between your upper and lower teeth. We can make you a custom-fitted mouthguard that is more comfortable than you can find over the counter.
You may need to wear a mouthguard permanently or just until you address the underlying causes for the teeth grinding.
Check Medication Side Effects
Certain medications can cause you to grind your teeth. Antidepressants are one type of medication that can do this. Sleeping aids are another type of medication that causes teeth grinding as a side effect.
Naturally, you may not be able to stop taking certain medications such as an antidepressant. However, your doctor might be able to switch you to a different type of medication if the grinding is severe.
Many substances can cause you to experience muscle contractions that cause grinding. Others could cause you to sleep so deeply that grinding does not wake you up.
Try to limit stimulants such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine for several hours before bedtime. Keep in mind that caffeine is often hidden in foods such as chocolate, so you may need to avoid those, too.
Reduce Daytime Stress
Stress is a huge cause of teeth grinding. Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid all types of stress.
Having a stressful job or being a caregiver to a loved one with disabilities often comes with responsibilities that you have to manage. Learning to properly deal with your stress can help you to relax better at night.
When we have patients that have stressful lives, we often recommend adding other types of self-care to your daily routine.
While we work on dental treatments such as a custom-fitted mouthguard, you may also benefit from talking to a counselor or practicing meditation.
If you grind your teeth at night, you may be so sound asleep that you do not know it. You may also be told by a sleeping partner that you make grinding noises.
Always let us know if you feel the symptoms of teeth grinding. We can then check on your teeth alignment and for signs of grinding so that we can recommend an appropriate treatment.