Did you know that stress can often lead to physical symptoms that impact your overall health? In addition to creating feelings of anxiety and tension, your stress can cause a condition known as nighttime bruxism, or grinding your teeth in your sleep. It is important to have bruxism treated right away, as this can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw. We understand that this can often prove to be quite tricky, though—after all, this issue occurs in your sleep! However, there are a few signs you can look for to better help you detect nighttime bruxism and seek treatment straight away. If you suffer from nighttime bruxism, you might experience any of the following six symptoms.
Grinding or Clenching Sounds
One of the first tell-tale signs of nighttime bruxism is usually noticed by a patient’s partner or family member. When you grind your teeth, it often makes a harsh squeaking or scraping sound that can be quite noticeable to others in the room. While this can happen occasionally in times of stress, be sure to contact your dentist straight away if this becomes a regular occurrence.
This symptom of bruxism is more commonly noticed by your dentist. Those who suffer from nighttime bruxism for an extended period of time may experience damage to their teeth. This could mean that the dental enamel becomes worn down or flattened, or it can even mean that your teeth will become fractured, chipped, or loosened if not treated.
Extreme Teeth Sensitivity
When your outer enamel is worn down by teeth grinding, it exposes the dentin layer beneath. The dentin layer is comprised of microscopic tubules that provide direct access to the nerve within the tooth. Therefore, when this dentin layer is exposed, your tooth becomes hypersensitive to heat and cold, making it painful to eat or drink.
Do you ever wake up to pain or tightness in the jaw muscles? Have you ever had a locked jaw, where your mouth will not open or close completely? Sensations of pain or weakness in the jaw muscles, particularly in the morning, could be a sign of nighttime bruxism.
Pain in the Ears or Temples
Our systems are all interconnected, and this is particularly evident for those who suffer from bruxism. Clenching or grinding your teeth in your sleep may cause you to have a dull headache in the temples, as well as an earache (that typically has nothing to do with ear troubles).
Damage to the Surrounding Tissues
Those who grind their teeth often also damage other tissues in their mouth as well—such as their tongue and cheeks. If you have any scarring, abrasions, or indentations on your cheeks or tongue, it is possible that you have worn down these tissues in your sleep while grinding your teeth.
Do you experience any or all of the above symptoms? If so, it is important to seek treatment before nighttime bruxism causes too much damage to your teeth and jaw. At Caputo Dental, we can provide you with the necessary treatment and devices to remedy issues caused by nighttime bruxism and prevent any further damage from occurring down the road. Simply call our Naperville office today to schedule your appointment!