How to Prevent Tooth Grinding While You Sleep
By : Dr. Samson Lee, D.D.S.
Dental Clinic in Scarborough
Grinding your teeth while you sleep is no joke, and people who suffer from this condition report know well how much discomfort it can cause. Chipped, cracked, and worn-down teeth, tight and tired jaw muscles, sleep disruption, injury to the tissues inside your cheeks, and even jaw dislocation—the list is long. At our dental clinic in Scarborough, we take the symptoms of bruxism seriously. We help you look for the causes of your tooth grinding and recommend steps you can take to help prevent developing this condition.
Reducing Risk Factors
Prevention is always better than cure, so instead of waiting until you develop bruxism, it’s worthwhile trying to manage or your risk for the condition. Factors that can increase your chances of tooth grinding include:
- Stress levels: Any form of chronic stress, anxiety, pressure, anger, or frustration can lead to tooth grinding because of the tension in your body when you drift into sleep.
- Age group: Although bruxism can affect anyone, it’s most common in adults aged 25 to 44, with a higher number of female sufferers. Young children often experience tooth grinding that goes away as they get closer to adulthood.
- Personality: People with a highly competitive, hyperactive, or aggressive personality often experience symptoms of bruxism triggered by pressure.
- Genetic factors: Bruxism is common among members of the same family.
- Chemical substance usage: Some antidepressant medications and substances such as coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and recreational drugs can increase your risk for tooth grinding.
- Medical conditions: Certain mental and physical disorders can heighten your risk for bruxism, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, and sleep-related conditions like apnea and night terrors.
By managing these factors, you can reduce your risk of developing bruxism and avoid the issues accompanying night-time tooth grinding before they occur.
Managing Your Condition
If you’re already waking up to the effects of bruxism in the mornings, it’s time to take a more active approach to managing your condition. The experienced team at our dental clinic in Scarborough will be able to determine whether you need treatment or not. Many children outgrow bruxism without having treatment, while adult patients often don’t have it seriously enough to need therapy. If your condition is severe, however, there are dental measures we can take to provide relief from the discomfort and prevent further damage to your teeth and jaw.
Custom Night Guards
Splints and mouth guards are designed to separate your upper and lower teeth, which prevents damage from occurring as a result of grinding them together. These are specially crafted from hard acrylic or soft materials to fit your mouth perfectly. A well-fitted, custom night guard is comfortable and doesn’t move during the night. This helps you to sleep soundly and avoid taking the guard out, which delivers the maximum benefit.
In severe cases of bruxism where the teeth are excessively worn down, causing sensitivity and difficulty chewing, our dental clinic in Scarborough might recommend having the surfaces of your teeth reshaped. Alternatively, we may suggest fitting crowns to repair the damage and protect the natural teeth in the future.
Reduce your tooth grinding and the symptoms of bruxism by learning strategies to promote relaxation and help you manage your stress or anxiety. Meditation or counselling can help you implement these measures.
Our dentists can teach you to practice the correct mouth and jaw position, which could help you change the behaviour that causes tooth grinding. Biofeedback is useful for learning to control the muscle activity in your jaw.
Medication should be a last resort for patients suffering from symptoms of bruxism, but some of the options available include:
- Muscle relaxants taken before bedtime
- BOTOX injections
- Anti-anxiety medications to help with stress or emotional problems
Treatment for Other Disorders
If your bruxism is an adverse reaction to a drug you’re taking for another condition, changing medications could help. Getting a diagnosis and treatment for sleep-related conditions such as sleep apnea might reduce your incidence of tooth grinding. If any other medical conditions affect your rest, treating these successfully might positively impact your bruxism.
Restful sleep is vital for overall good health, and if your tooth grinding is causing interference for you or a loved one, it’s essential to get the correct treatment. Call 416-291-3117 or click here to schedule an appointment with our dental clinic in Scarboroughtoday to discuss a custom nightguard or other options for preventing and treating bruxism.