Do you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw and a headache? You might be clenching or grinding your teeth in the night. While it seems like a silly or annoying habit that wakes your spouse, this is a medical condition you should see your Kelowna dentist at Okanagan Smiles about to protect your teeth and jaw.
Grinding, clenching, or gnashing your teeth unconsciously during the day or at night is known as (sleep) bruxism.
Some of the bruxism cases we see at our Kelowna dental centre don’t need treatment. Others, who grind or clench more frequently and/or severely, can experience painful headaches, jaw disorders, and real damage to your teeth.
How can you tell if you grind your teeth?
You may have bruxism if you experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Migranes or changes in vision during headaches
- Fractured, chipped, flattened, worn down or sensitive teeth
- Worn enamel, exposed dentin
- Pain , tiredness or tightness in your jaw or jaw muscles or temporalis muscles on your temples
- Earaches or feeling like there is water in your ears
- Unexplained dizziness or inner ear problems
- Waking your partner in the night with sounds of your teeth grinding or clenching
- Tongue indentations
- Clicking Jaw Joints
- Many broken fillings or lost fillings or multiple restorations or missing teeth present.
If you experience any of these symptoms of bruxism, you should visit your dentist. Kelowna dental clinics can fit you for a night guard, a protective and comfortable mouth piece that can prevent you from grinding your teeth. Misaligned teeth or a degenerated bite can also be a result of long-term grinding and once restored to an ideal muscle and skeletal situation will help reduce the severity and symptoms of grinding.
Is there anything else you can do to avoid grinding your teeth? Good question. Dentistry still isn’t sure exactly what causes bruxism, but they have some ideas.
Possible causes of bruxism:
- Stress, tension, anxiety, suppressed frustration or anger
- Stimulating substances such as caffeinated beverages, alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and ecstasy
- Psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants
- Abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth
- Disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease
One thing we have noticed in our travels around the world doing charity dental work is that we see very little symptoms of bruxism in people who live in jungles, villages or towns that we visit. There seems to be quite a strong link between either North American genetics or North American rat race and bruxism.
If you think you’re grinding your teeth, visit a Kelowna dental clinic like Okanagan Smiles so you can protect your teeth and jaw joints. If the cause turns out to be a misalignment of your teeth, a Kelowna orthodontist can get your teeth in line to save you from future pain and treatments.
Whether you’re visiting us for cosmetic or general dentistry, we provide a comfortable experience with results that will last. Contact us to book an appointment today!
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