Grinding Your Teeth In Your Sleep

Because of stress, malocclusion, or TMJ disorder, many people grind their teeth without thinking about it. Known as bruxism, this habit inevitably causes serious tooth damage. Bruxism includes clicking, “drumming”, and clenching teeth, and usually occurs during sleep. Bruxism is considered a “behavioral habit” when done while awake, and a sleep disorder when asleep. If you grind your teeth subconsciously while awake, then most likely you also do it in your sleep.

Bruxism is not an easy habit to break. Overcoming bruxism is difficult for those who clench or grind their teeth while awake, but it’s virtually impossible to stop bruxing while sleeping. Fortunately, Dr. Greenfield can help you overcome bruxism, whether you do it during the day or while sleeping.  

Experts cite a few general indicators to explain causes for bruxism.

  •  Stress/Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Earache, which may originate from pain in the temporomandibular joint, the jaw joint adjacent to the ear canal. Ironically, the very pain and discomfort from clenching and grinding of one’s teeth can cause pain that leads to clenching and grinding—a vicious circle. TMD, [mistakenly coined as TMJ] temporomandibular disorders, can arise from bruxism.
  • Headaches.
  • Tooth sensitivity.
  • Sleeplessness.
  • Jaw pain.

Detrimental effects typically include:

  •  Chipped or cracked teeth or dentures.
  • Jaw pain or development of TMD disorders. As many as 10% of all people awake to this.
  • Chronic headache.
  • Limited jaw and facial movement.
  • Gum recession.
  • Lack of sleep. Very serious health difficulties are born out of sleep debt.
  • Negative impact on relationships. Believe it or not, marriages have been known to arise from sleep loss as a result of bruxism.

If you know or suspect that you are affected by bruxism, or if your partner has said you grind your teeth in sleep, please give Lake Orion Family Dentistry a call. Schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Greenfield and begin addressing the problem: (248) 693-6213.