Do you frequently wake up in the morning with a sore and tight jaw? This is a condition called bruxism and is associated with teeth grinding. Nighttime bruxism affects about 15% of American adults. We highly recommend that you see a family dentist if a painful tooth or jaw hampers your mornings.
What Causes Nighttime Bruxism?
According to the Bruxism Association, nighttime teeth grinding is prevalent among individuals with existing sleep disorders, such as chronic snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The condition is also higher among those who use substances like sleep medication, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. There also appears to be a strong correlation between bruxism and stress. The latter is known to disrupt normal sleep patterns.
We typically recommend a night guard, which you can obtain without a prescription at your local Walgreens. Our dentists can also customize a night guard to fit your teeth and make it more comfortable for long-term use.
Some patients, however, still find a night guard uncomfortable due to a sensitive gag reflex. In this case, there are other forms of treatment we can discuss with you, such as:
- Obtaining braces—our orthodontist may recommend braces to straighten your teeth. Misaligned teeth may alter the anatomy of your jaw muscles, causing the teeth to clinch.
- Changing your diet—we are not nutritionists, but we do know that certain foods, stimulants, and medications can contribute to teeth grinding.
- Avoiding stress—okay, easier said than done, especially if you hold a full-time job and have a family to take care of. However, giving yourself some “me” time or seeing a therapist might help you fight stress. Anxiety, as mentioned, is a common precursor to bruxism.
Experiencing a Sore Jaw and Sleepless Nights?
Give Kenmore Dental a call if you’re not sleeping well AND experiencing morning jaw-ache. We’re not sleep specialists, but we do know that nighttime bruxism is linked to poor sleep patterns.
Edited by Justin Vorhees
Dental Treatment for Alleviating Teeth Grinding
Serving the dentistry needs of the Kenmore, Alderwood Manor, Bothell, Brier, Juanita, Lake Forest Park, Kirkland, Woodinville and the surrounding area for almost 50 years!