Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding, a condition that affects 1 in 10 adults and nearly twice as many children. A large percentage of people with bruxism are unaware that they have this issue since it only occurs while they sleep. If you have reason to suspect you may have bruxism, Dr. Lance Porter and Dr. Will Warren of Porter Dental Health Clinic encourage you to read this blog to help you make a correct diagnosis and receive the care you need to protect your teeth.
Check for Signs
Teeth grinding is hard to self-diagnose since it occurs while you sleep, but you can still look for symptoms during your waking hours. Clues that you may have bruxism include:
- Sore and/or sensitive teeth
- Tightness or soreness in your jaw, particularly right after waking up
- Unexplained cracks or chips on your teeth
- Clicking noise when you open your mouth
- Achy temples
Many of these symptoms are too subtle to notice or are easily (and incorrectly) attributed to another cause. If you share a bedroom with someone, it can be a good idea to ask that person if they have ever noticed you grinding your teeth in your sleep.
Consult with a Dentist
Fortunately, a good dentist does not need to watch you sleep to gauge whether you grind your teeth. Dr. Porter and Dr. Warren already look for unusual signs of wear and tear on your teeth (including cracks, chips and wear facets) during standard dental appointments. If you mention that you have experienced jaw or teeth pain recently, that can provide them with further evidence. Dental X-rays can show any irregularities around the jawline that may contribute to bruxism.
If your dentist does identify definitive evidence of teeth grinding, he can recommend treatments. Not only can treating bruxism improve your sleep and relieve chronic pain, but it can also protect your teeth from significant damage that would eventually necessitate dental restoration procedures. An oral appliance, which is custom built to fit comfortably in your mouth, prevents you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. If bruxism has already done visible damage to your teeth, Dr. Porter and Dr. Warren can suggest and perform appropriate restorative and cosmetic treatments.
Meet with Dr. Porter and Dr. Warren
Ongoing teeth grinding can cause broken teeth, frequent headaches and TMJ. Some people choose to tolerate these symptoms, but with help from your dentist, you can live a much more pleasant and pain-free life. To make an appointment at Porter Dental Health Clinic in Hot Springs, Arkansas, please call (501) 624-2778.