While examining your teeth we may spot signs of bruxism. This is often an unconscious problem that occurs while you sleep and can be highly damaging to your teeth. Working with our staff at Cooley Smiles, we can discuss any signs of damage that we see, discuss the symptoms, offer solutions and restoration. With some patients, simply wearing a retainer-like device such as a nightguard while you sleep can prevent both pain and expensive repair.
Bruxism is a condition that displays through grinding or gnashing your teeth subconsciously, most often while sleeping. Bruxism is generally a temporary disorder that can be set off during times of stress, though there are some other reasons as well such as sleep apnea or a deficiency in vitamin D.
As the patient grinds their teeth, they are performing a similar act as sanding would to their teeth. Grinding flattens and smooths the pits and fissures of the teeth that we use for chewing and breaking down food. Patients who gnash their teeth are pressing their top and bottom jaw firmly together. This pressured hold can cause fracture and breakage to their teeth. It also causes strain to the jaw joint and facial muscles. The strain and damage that bruxism causes to teeth can require expensive repair or lead to the need for tooth extraction. We can help prevent this damage with both immediate treatment through the use of a night guard or mouthguard while also determining the larger cause.
Spotting The Signs of Bruxism
There are signs and symptoms that you can look for to determine if you suffer from bruxism. Signs include:
||Facial Tension: You may wake with feelings of tightness, or feel muscles relax as you wake. You may feel tightness in your jaw joint or other facial muscles.
||Flattened Teeth: You may notice that the surface of your molars have flattened, or have less ridges.
||Tooth Pain or Sensitivity: Teeth that have cracks, thin spots or breakage occur can feel sensitive or even painful, especially when consuming hot or cold items.
Some signs of damage can be obvious to our team during your dental exam, but if you are finding that you are waking with tension, headaches, or a lack of rest, let our team know. We want to diagnose issues before they become bigger, painful, or expensive.
Bruxism and Sleep Apnea
Studies have linked bruxism as being a possible sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a release of stress hormones to rouse them just enough to take a breath. One cause of bruxism is stress. These same stress hormones that are released in patients with OSA can then be a set off to the act of clenching or grinding while you sleep.
Bruxism and Vitamin D Deficiency
Growing information has linked a deficiency in vitamin D to bruxism. Studies tell us that low vitamin D levels can be a cause for depression in people. This brings heightened feelings of stress which can be displayed through teeth grinding and gnashing.
If you are suffering from bruxism, contact Cooley Smiles at (425) 249-3509 to schedule an appointment so we can help relieve you of painful tooth and jaw discomfort and damage.