There are many possible reasons that you may wake up to a frustrated bed partner. Perhaps you spent the night thrashing, snoring, talking or even walking – keeping your partner awake while you soundly slept. For about 10% of the population, the thing that may be grinding your partner’s gears is actually the grinding of your teeth.
Sleep bruxism, the clenching and grinding of your teeth during sleep, can result in more than just a peeved partner; it can also have short-term and long-term consequences for your health. Luckily, there is an easy way to prevent sleep bruxism: a night guard.
Do you know or think that you suffer from sleep bruxism? If so, come see the team at Juan M. Carrillo, DMD in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Carillo and our team will work with you to create a custom night guard that will protect your teeth without hampering your ability to breathe or speak clearly. Dr. Carrillo and the rest of our practice are committed to offering the highest quality service in a gentle and caring atmosphere. Here, he discusses the benefits of a night guard and whether you should be sleeping with one.
On sleep bruxism
Bruxism is a condition in which you clench, grind, and gnash your teeth. Sleep bruxism is a sleep-related movement disorder and often coincides with other sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and snoring. Many people who suffer from bruxism don’t know it, especially if they sleep alone.
Sleep bruxism has some immediate symptoms and other complications that can arise after prolonged bouts of teeth grinding. Common symptoms include:
- Worn tooth enamel, with deeper layers of the tooth exposed
- Increased tooth pain and/or sensitivity
- Tired or tight jaw muscles
- Jaw, neck, or face pain or soreness
- Pain that feels like an earache
- Dull headache starting in the temples
- Damage from chewing on the inside of the cheek
- Sleep disruption
A dull headache and sore jaw are the most prevalent among these. Severe bruxism may eventually damage teeth, cause tension headaches, or lead to extreme facial and/or jaw pain.
Who’s at risk
The cause of bruxism isn’t clear, but risk factors include stress, family members with bruxism, missing or crooked teeth, anxiety, and other sleep disorders. Age is the biggest factor. Some studies have indicated that up to 50% of children grind their teeth, while only 3% of older adults report teeth grinding. Children often start grinding after their baby teeth erupt and then again as their adult teeth start to emerge. Bruxism usually stops after all adult teeth are present.
Why a night guard
A night guard is like an athletic mouthguard; it’s made of rubber or plastic and fits over your teeth to protect them at night. Night guards are effective at preventing teeth grinding and may also relieve pain from clenching. Overall, you should experience the following positive impacts from using a night guard:
- Sleep better
- Avoid annoying headaches when you wake up
- Avoid the dull ache that can occur in your jaw
- Protect your teeth as well as any dentures, crowns, or other restorations
We’ll work with you to custom fit your mouthguard so that it is comfortable and doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
To learn more about sleep bruxism and night guards, book an appointment online or over the phone with Juan M Carrillo, DMD.