Clenching or grinding your teeth is a common habit that most of us experience. Mostly, teeth grinding is an involuntary reaction to anger, stress, or fear. Some people depict this reaction several times during the day and may be found clenching their teeth if they aren’t experiencing any stress and anxiety. This involuntary habit of grinding your teeth is known as bruxism.
If you clench your teeth during the day, the condition is named awake bruxism, while if you clench your teeth at night, the condition is called sleep bruxism. Most people who clench their teeth while sleeping are much less likely to know that they do so.
However, if this condition is left untreated, it can lead to serious oral health complications. Hence, it is essential to pay significant importance to diagnosing sleep bruxism and putting efforts into managing this problem. If the condition persist, you must consult a dentist who may suggest wearing a night guard for teeth grinding.
What Are the Causes of Sleep Bruxism?
There can be several reasons that lead to sleep bruxism. The most common reason that leads to sleep bruxism is stress. It is pretty common to see people clenching their teeth whenever they face any negative situations in life. Individuals experiencing elevated levels of stress and anxiety in their daily life are much more likely to experience bruxism while falling asleep.
Researchers claim that sleep bruxism is a genetic disorder that can run in families. Nearly half of the people with sleep bruxism are known to have a close family member who also experiences the same condition.
Several other factors are also linked with sleep bruxism which includes; cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, caffeine intake, and snoring. So, if by any means you manage to control these symptoms, you can get rid of bruxism.
How to Diagnose Sleep Bruxism?
Your dentist usually diagnoses sleep bruxism; however, the diagnostic process may vary depending on the healthcare professional providing care. Polysomnography (an overnight study in a sleep clinic) is the best way of diagnosing sleep bruxism.
Besides diagnosing sleep bruxism, polysomnography can also identify other sleep problems and may be helpful for someone with diverse sleep complications. However, polysomnography is a time-consuming and expensive method of diagnosing sleep bruxism.
For most individuals, the existence of symptoms such as tooth damage and jaw pain indicate that they might be suffering from sleep bruxism. Sometimes, reports from your bed partner serve to be conclusive evidence suggesting that you have sleep bruxism.
How to Get Rid of Sleep Bruxism?
There is no permanent cure available for sleep bruxism; however, several approaches can help in reducing the impact of this condition. Let’s discuss them.
· Wearing A Nightguard
Several types of mouthguards (also called nightguards) can help reduce the damage to your teeth and mouth, which would occur because of bruxism.
SportingSmiles custom night guards cover your teeth and create a barrier against the harmful impact of grinding. Depending on your unique teeth impressions, these mouthguards are usually custom-designed by your dentist. However, over-the-counter mouthguards are also available, which you can buy from a local drug store.
· Reduce Stress
High levels of stress and anxiety are among the major causes of bruxism. Stress and anxiety make it difficult for you to fall asleep; instead, they also complicate the symptoms of bruxism.
Reducing stress is an effective way of combating bruxism. So, you must indulge in healthy activities and find ways of reducing stress and anxiety. In this way, you can minimize symptoms related to sleep bruxism.
Medications can also help in reducing symptoms related to bruxism. Most of the recommended medications work by altering brain chemicals to reduce muscle activity which causes teeth grinding. Sometimes, the dentists also recommend Botox injections. These injections are an effective way of limiting muscle movement and hence help treat severe sleep bruxism cases.
However, it is essential to mention that certain medications may also have side effects. So, you must consult your dentist before taking any medicines to treat bruxism.