Updated January 2021
If you clench your jaw or grind your teeth at night, the effects can be excruciating and potentially damaging to your teeth. The real problem is you may suffer from headaches, facial pain, and enamel erosion without knowing why since you are grinding when you are asleep and unaware.
Bruxism is the term to describe jaw clenching and grinding. The difference between doing it during the day and doing it at night is that when you do it during the day, you can bring immediate awareness to it and quickly begin to change the behavior. When you clench and grind during the night, it’s a little trickier but still manageable.
Do I Have A Grinding Problem?
First, determine if you suffer from bruxism. If you have a partner, this is fairly easy. More than likely, they identified the issue for you. (Some serious teeth grinders make a lot of racket!) Here are some telltale signs:
- Morning headaches
- Sore jaw or facial muscles
- Sensitive or loose teeth
- Impressions or indentations on your tongue
If you have any of these symptoms, check-in with your dentist. Just as with daytime bruxism, these issues can lead to serious problems, including cracked and broken teeth, and enamel erosion.
What Can I Do About It?
Because teeth clenching and grinding often is the result of stress, here are some suggestions for your bedtime routine:
- Let go of negative thoughts: Keep a notepad by your bed. If you feel anxiety before bedtime, take time to write down your feelings. This process may help calm the negative recurring thoughts that could be the cause of nighttime clenching.
- Practice mindful awareness: As you close your eyes to drift off to sleep, become aware of the tension in your jaw. Consciously loosen and relax the muscles in your jaw and your face. If you wake during the night, repeat the relaxation process.
- Ask your partner for help: If your bedmate hears you grinding at night, ask him to give you a nudge. When you wake, repeat the mindful awareness exercise before you go back to sleep.
If these tips don’t bring you relief, it may be worth considering a mouthguard.
Let’s discuss the option that’s best for you. There’s no need to go another night with disruptive sleep or another day with associated pain. Make your next dental appointment today by contacting us. We look forward to seeing you at our practice and helping you with all your dentistry needs.