Teeth grinding and clenching is a danger to your smile. It can result in a host of problems if left untreated, including:
- Jaw pain
- Sensitive teeth
- Cracked teeth
- Gum recession
- Worn enamel
The worst part is that teeth grinding is a habit you may not realise that you have until it’s already done a lot of damage. Clenching can happen anytime you’re stressed or concentrating while awake. Grinding, however, adds the side-to-side motion of rubbing your teeth together while your jaw is tightly clenched (usually at night when you’re asleep.)
Also called bruxism, a teeth grinding habit is one you’ll want to avoid. But being that it’s a subconscious action, you first need to find out if you suffer from it. Here are a few signs to be on the lookout for.
1. Your Sleeping Partner Complains About the Noise You Make
If your roommate, spouse or other sleeping partner reports that you make grinding noises with your teeth at night, then that’s the most obvious sign!
Teeth grinding is a common phase for young kids to go through. If you’re wondering whether your child grinds theirs, then try to listen for the sound while he or she is sleeping. Children typically outgrow this habit but it’s good to monitor them periodically, just in case.
If you’re usually alone at night or your partner can’t tell whether you grind your teeth, what other signs can you look for?
2. Waking Up with a Headache
Waking up with a headache each morning that fades as the minutes pass is a typical sign that your muscles were under some serious pressure while you slept. You might even experience pain in your neck or ears, as well.
3. Sore Cheeks and Jaw in the Morning
Another fairly obvious sign is waking up with pain in your jaws and cheeks. The muscles you use for chewing get a major workout when you grind your teeth. Especially so as they’re under unusual pressure at the same time.
If you can’t chew your breakfast because of a sore jaw, then that could mean you suffer from bruxism.
4. Worn Teeth
Teeth grinding directly wear away tooth enamel. Eventually, the tops of your teeth can start to flatten as the enamel disappears. Short, square, and flat teeth are a hallmark sign of teeth grinding. You may even notice some yellow spots in them that mean they’ve been eroded down to the inner layer of dentin.
5. Unexplained Damage to Teeth and Dental Restorations
Are your dental crowns constantly coming loose? Do you have trouble keeping your dental fillings in one piece? Have you cracked a tooth more than once in the past couple of years for seemingly no reason? Such damage could be due to teeth grinding.
6. Your Face Is Looking a Little Different
If your cheek muscles are getting a workout each night, then they might take on a rather pronounced appearance. Worn teeth get shorter and this lowers the overall height of your smile. Your cheeks and lips may start to sag a little more around your mouth.
Suspect that you grind your teeth? Your dentist can help you combat this habit. Call today to plan a consultation.