Ahh, sleep… One of the best parts of a long day is lining up those sheep, preparing for the count. Alas, morning comes, and while you might feel rested, that’s not the only thing you feel. Your jaw hurts or you notice a chipped layer on your teeth that wasn’t there when you went to sleep last night. You may be suffering from a condition call “bruxism,” which translates to teeth grinding.
Teeth grinding tends to happen during the nighttime when you’re sleeping, so you might not even notice you’re doing it! In many cases, it’s someone’s partner who notices it before the person themselves, as the partner hears the innate grinding sound. According to Aurelio Alonso, DDS, PhD, an assistant professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, some of the tell-tale signs of teeth grinding, aside from the grinding itself, are: wearing of the teeth, jaw soreness and/or swelling, headaches, and tongue indentation.
Shila Yazdani, DDS, a cosmetic dentistry specialist in D.C., expands on Dr. Alonso’s symptom list by explaining how, over time; those short term effects may result in quite the complications if left unaddressed. Some of these complications include: migraines, ear aches, buzzing or ringing in the ear, teeth sensitivity; and loose, cracked, or worn-down teeth. These complications – especially toward the teeth and jaw muscle – can become permanent and quite burdensome.
While the cause of bruxism isn’t completely known, there are theories as to what could lead to the condition. Karyn Kahn, DDS, a dentist at the Cleveland Clinic shares how studies have suggested that nighttime teeth grinding may be facilitated by the central nervous system; and has possible connections to brain chemistry, some drugs, alcohol, genetics, and smoking. Also possible contributing factors are medications that affect dopaminergic systems, as well as personality/psychological factors, anxiety, and stress have shown to have a connection to teeth grinding in some people.
As much as a scoundrel this bruxism seems to be, it hath no discrimination against whom it affects! It treats men and women equally. However, children are more susceptible according to Dr. Alonso, with 50 percent of children under 11 years of age being affected; compared to only 8 percent of adults. While there doesn’t’ seem to be a cure, per say, Dr. Alonso suggests a visit to your dentist to discuss a nighttime mouth guard so you can keep your teeth, your jaw, and your long-term health protected and blissful!
Rest assured there is comfort on the other side of your sheep herd; it’s just a step away from a chat with your dentist.
Everyone here at Dr. Peter Wiesel's Dental office is SUPER excited to help you with all your dental needs. We pride ourselves on providing you with outstanding service and invite you to to come see why we are the Best of 2015 in Dental Care for New Jersey! Give us a call to schedule your appointment now! Contact us at 609-927-5300.