If you wake up most mornings with a headache, you could be one of millions of people who grind their teeth. This condition, also known as “bruxism,” effects the quality of life for countless people. Although teeth grinding typically occurs while the person is sleeping, people can also grind their teeth while they’re awake, often without even realizing they’re doing it. If it’s left untreated, it can cause abnormal wear of the teeth, fractures in the teeth, and can even lead to tooth loss.
If you’re not sure whether or not you suffer from bruxism, there are some symptoms to look for.
- Headaches — particularly when you wake up in the morning
- Muscle aches and/or stiffness – specifically in the face, jaw, ears neck and shoulders
- Sleep disorders – waking up often during the night could be a symptom of bruxism
If you grind your teeth, you should know that there are a variety of reasons why this might be happening: depression, sleep disorders, and drinking too much alcohol and/or caffeine are all possible causes. But most experts believe the greatest contributor to teeth grinding is stress and high levels of anxiety. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to treat the condition early on to avoid the dental problems that can occur as a result, and to improve your quality of life overall.
Although it’s always preferable to eliminate the root causes of a problem rather than just treating the symptoms, that’s easier said than done. Stress management techniques such as mediation and biofeedback have been helpful in relieving stress for many people, although these treatments often take some time to work. If you’re not sure what is making you grind your teeth, or if there are multiple reasons why it’s happening, the best way to stop is to prevent it from happening at all. And the most effective way to do that is with a night guard. This custom-made dental appliance can be worn while the patient is sleeping to help protect the teeth and prevent teeth grinding. Night guards have been shown to significantly reduce the jaw and face pain that is often associated with bruxism, as well as other symptoms such as morning headaches.
If you grind your teeth, you should waste no time in seeking a treatment to prevent it from happening. The first step is to talk to your dentist. He or she can discuss possible causes for the condition and recommend a dental appliance and/or other treatment options that would be best suited for you.