If you’re reading this, you may be wondering if you grind your teeth. We get it – teeth grinding is one of those sneaky habits that can be hard to notice on your own. We’ll walk you through some of the key signs here, so you can get a sense if your pearly whites are sustaining damage on a nightly basis.
Now, let’s talk symptoms. Since most teeth grinding occurs when you’re sawing logs at night, you may not even realize it’s happening! That’s why taking note of any unusual symptoms in the morning can provide some helpful clues:
- Painful Jaw or Other Pain – Do you ever wake up with a sore, tired jaw? Find yourself with a tense headache or neck pain that seems to come out of nowhere? Those can be red flags that something’s up. Chronic grinders and clenchers are more prone to pain in the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) on each side of your face. Tenderness in those areas, especially in the morning, can be an especially big red flag.
- Sounds During Sleep – If you have a sleep partner, ask them if they’ve ever heard any weird noises coming from your mouth at night. Grinding and clenching can cause some not-so-subtle sounds like squeaking or grinding. Not the most glamorous conversation topic, but important intel!
- Visual Signs – When you look in the mirror, check your teeth for any crack or chips on the edges or surfaces. Same goes for the tops of your molars – look for flattened areas or dips. Those physical signs point to excessive wear from grinding.
If you notice any of these symptoms, mention it to your dentist at your next visit. We’ll check for signs of wear and tear and may recommend a mouthguard to protect your pearly whites while you slumber. It is custom-made, so it will fit your mouth perfectly. Wearing it at night will help save your teeth from all that grinding. It also relieves pressure on your jaw and gives it a chance to heal, so your pain will go away.
While mouthguards work wonders in many cases to stop this damaging habit, you may benefit from treatment with Invisalign if a misaligned bite is causing you to grind. If your teeth have sustained damage like chips or cracks, we can repair it using treatments like bonding, veneers, or crowns.
Remember – teeth grinding is usually stress-related, so be kind to yourself! Focus on healthy habits like relaxation techniques, reducing caffeine, and getting quality sleep. With some lifestyle tweaks and dental care, you and your jaws will hopefully rest easy.