Do you grind your teeth or clench your jaw in your sleep? Most people would say no. However, it can be quite difficult to tell if you have this nighttime habit since it primarily occurs when you’re asleep. In fact, many people don’t realize they do until they begin to suffer from some of the serious symptoms it can cause! This unconscious habit is a condition called bruxism, and it can lead to permanent tooth and jaw damage if not treated by your dentist. Knowing what to look out for can go a long way in protecting your smile, so let’s take a look at the five most common warning signs of bruxism.
1.) Sensitive Teeth
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that can be caused by a wide variety of issues, one of which is bruxism. As you grind and clench your teeth, the protective enamel is slowly worn away, which exposes the thin layer of dentin underneath. The dentin is comprised of microscopic tubes that lead to the nerve of the tooth, which makes it very sensitive to hot, cold, sweet, sour, or acidic foods and drinks.
2.) Chipped or Cracked Teeth
Weakened enamel doesn’t just cause sensitive teeth. It also leaves your teeth vulnerable to chipping and cracking! Worn enamel combined with the nightly excess pressure from teeth grinding can easily cause chips, cracks and fractures in one or more teeth.
3.) Receding Gums
Do your teeth seem to look longer than normal? This could mean your gums are receding. If your gum tissue is injured or stressed because of bruxism, it will begin to pull away from your teeth. Gum recession is also a warning sign of gum disease, which can be made even worse by bruxism!
4.) Stiff Neck, Shoulder, or Jaw Muscles
The negative impacts of bruxism don’t stop at your teeth and gums. Continued tension from clenching and grinding your teeth can spread throughout your head and to your shoulders. Eventually, you may find yourself with stiff neck, shoulder, or jaw muscles that are difficult and uncomfortable to move.
5.) Headaches, Facial Pain, or Jaw Pain
Pain is a common symptom of bruxism. As the muscles in your face and jaw become stressed from teeth grinding, they’ll become sore. You may begin to find yourself waking up with headaches, facial pain, or jaw pain, especially in the joints.
Protecting Your Smile from Bruxism
Since it can be difficult to tell if you grind your teeth in your sleep, it’s essential that you visit your dentist every six months. Alongside cleaning your teeth and checking for cavities, they’ll also be looking for certain signs of wear and tear or damage that suggest bruxism. Should anything be detected, they can create a custom nightguard to protect your smile and help you stop grinding your teeth before any serious damage has been done.
About the Practice
The talented team of Pinnacle Dental is dedicated to helping the smiles of Braintree and the surrounding communities stay happy and healthy for a lifetime. That’s why we provide personalized preventive care during every checkup to ensure your oral health stays on track. Whether you need a nightguard for bruxism, a fluoride treatment for tooth decay, or just a simple cleaning, we’ll go above and beyond to make sure your smile looks and feels its best! To learn more, we can be contacted online or at (781) 843-7905.