Do you wake up in the morning when your jaw locks together or with soreness in your jaw? If so, it's probably because of the habits you have while you sleep. Grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw are two common habits many people have, but these can be damaging and painful habits to have. If you would like to find out what you can do about this, you can make an appointment with a dentist.
Why This Happens
Bruxism is the term that refers to the condition when a person grinds his or her teeth and clenches his or her jaw. This condition is quite common among children, but it is also something many adults suffer from. According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 8% of adults have this problem.
Experts are not completely sure what causes this, but many researchers believe that there are several things linked to bruxism, including:
- Anxiety – When a person is nervous and anxious, this might be a natural response.
- Tobacco products and alcohol – Studies from the National Sleep Foundation also reveal that smoking and consuming alcohol are also likely causes of bruxism.
- Sleep apnea – Science Daily reports that people with sleep apnea are also likely to suffer from this as well, but treating sleep apnea often relieves the grinding and clenching.
If you believe that you may have this problem, you should consider getting help for it because it can lead to other problems.
Damage It Causes
When you grind your teeth and clench your jaw, you could be causing damage to your teeth and jaw. These habits also commonly lead to:
- Jaw pain
- Neck or face pain
The damage you can do to your teeth while you sleep is quite astonishing too. Grinding your teeth can result in:
- Losing your teeth – Grinding wears your teeth out. Imagine the effects of rubbing sandpaper on wood. Grinding is doing the same thing, except the damage is to your teeth.
- Having loose teeth – Eventually this could lead to your teeth falling out.
- Breaking your teeth – The damage can also be so severe that it can break your teeth.
- Developing TMJ – TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, and it is a very painful condition of the jaw.
You may want to get help before the damage is too severe, and you can do this by visiting a dentist.
When you visit a dentist for this problem, he or she will probably begin by examining your teeth. The dentist will look for signs of bruxism, and one of the common signs is damage to the teeth. If you have teeth that are smaller than they should be, it could be a result of grinding. The dentist will also ask you questions about the pain you are experiencing from this.
If the dentist believes that you have bruxism, he or she might recommend using a mouth guard. This is a common dental device that can be used for many things. People use them to protect their teeth when playing sports, and people also use them to treat TMJ.
A custom dental mouth guard is one that will fit inside your mouth perfectly, and wearing it while you sleep will relieve the problem. The mouth guard will be made of plastic, and its purpose is to provide cushion between your upper teeth and lower teeth. While you wear this, it will be impossible to damage your teeth from grinding.
This is the easiest solution for bruxism, and it is easy to get one. After confirming that you have this condition, your dentist will make impressions of your teeth and will create a custom mouth guard that is perfect for you. Check out sites like http://www.nwidentist.com/ for more information.