The Nightly Grind - Battling Bruxism While You Sleep

As the holidays approach, so can major stress. I mean, really, we are all stressed enough as it is, so the stress of preparing for the holidays can put us right over the top. I often see more patients in these high-stress times than ever. Why? Bruxism.


What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is just a fancy word for clenching and grinding of teeth. And if you have a tendency to clench, you do it more in times of stress. Of course, there are other reasons people clench and grind, but stress is a big one. If your stress is off the charts, call my Lenexa dental office. You may want a nightguard to protect your teeth!

Do I Really Grind my Teeth?

Many people who grind and clench their teeth don’t realize that they do it. Often it takes a broken tooth, an observer, or a dentist to realize it is happening.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from bruxism:

  • Worn, chipped, broken teeth

  • Flattened tooth surfaces

  • Exposure of tooth layers and loss of enamel

  • Tooth sensitivity

  • Jaw pain

  • Headache and facial pain

  • Earache from jaw muscle tension and contraction

  • A scalloped tongue or irregular tongue edges

  • Damaged mouth tissue

What Causes Tooth Grinding and Clenching?

We already mentioned stress, but there are other things that could compound your risk or cause tooth grinding and clenching even if you are a super-relaxed person. These causes include:

  • Sleep disorders

  • Stress, tension, or anxiety

  • Misaligned jaw or poor bite alignment

  • Acid reflux

  • As a result of some diseases such as Parkinson's disease

  • As a side effect of some medications

What Can I do to Protect my Teeth?

At my dental office in Lenexa, we want to help protect your smile. We offer comfortable, custom-fitted mouthguards to ease the pain of clenching and grinding and keep your teeth – and your precious restorations – strong and intact. Give us a call today and find relief!

Serving teeth clenchers and grinders in Lenexa, Overland Park, and Kansas City.

Sleeping and Your Oral Health

Your teeth are at risk all the time--even while you sleep! Here at my Lenexa dental office, we help our patients protect their teeth day and night with treatment and care tips. We believe a little education can go a long way toward keeping your teeth strong and healthy day or night.

Here are a  two night time habits or issues, and the solutions that may save your teeth:

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Not only is snoring a possible sign of sleep apnea, a potentially deadly disorder that disrupts your sleep, it’s also a common cause of dry mouth.  Everyone needs saliva to keep their mouths healthy. Saliva works to:

  • Lubricate the tissues of your mouth

  • Cleanse and rinse the oral cavity and teeth, minimizing plaque build-up, washing away trapped food particles, and removing dead cells that can lead to bad breath, infections, and sores.

  • Neutralize the acids plaque produces to stop enamel erosion.

If you snore or wonder if you have sleep apnea, please call us or talk to your physician or dentist right away. Sleep apnea won't just dry your mouth out, it can lead to all kinds of health problems from extreme fatigue to an increased risk for strokes and heart attacks.

Grinding or Bruxism

Stress, certain medications, and dental problems can all cause people to grind and clench their teeth during sleep, a disorder called bruxism. Bruxism seems pretty self explanatory in the fact that it can cause your teeth to break, chip, crack, and even decay because of enamel erosion, but did you know it can also lead to a variety of other problems?

Problems caused by bruxism may include:

  • Headaches, especially in the morning

  • Toothaches

  • Facial pain

  • Jaw pain and dysfunction sometimes known as TMJ disorder

  • Gum disease

  • Facial aging due to shortening of teeth

  • Tooth damage

If you or someone you know grinds or clenches their teeth at night, please call my dental office in Lenexa. We’ll work with you to diagnose what’s going on in your mouth and recommend the best solution for you so you can get back to oral health and back to a good night’s sleep.

Welcoming patients from Lenexa, Overland Park, and Kansas City.