You may care for your teeth in the day but there are chances that you may be harming your teeth while you sleep. Now, you may wonder how is it possible for a person to damage his/her teeth while sleeping. Ever heard of bruxism? Well this condition can do the damage without you being in a conscious state.
Bruxism is mainly associated with the teeth grinding and jaw clenching. If you are going through stressful situations during day time, there are chances that you will grind your teeth during night. In the start, there is no immediate effect you may suffer due to teeth grinding unless you are applying too much pressure. However, the changes in teeth structure occur with the passage of time. Moreover, it can also cause developmental issues in jaws. The most talked about effect of bruxism is that it results in wearing out of tooth enamel. This wearing out leads to the exposure of dentin, which is a softer layer of teeth. This layer has numerous pores which give easy passage to the bacteria that can be dangerous to the inner layer called pulp. This entire procedure can lead to the infection and death of a tooth.
Causes and symptoms
Teeth grinding or bruxism is commonly referred to as a physical manifestation of stress and anxiety. You don’t need to be fully conscious for this condition to persist. As a matter of fact, you may be able to keep yourself from grinding your teeth when you are awake.
Besides stress, there are other issues which can result in bruxism. Some of those issues include alcohol consumption, substance abuse, sleep apnea, and bite and alignment issues.
There has been a lot of discussion about the signs of bruxism. Since it is the issue which mainly persists while sleeping, it could be hard for anyone to tell if he/she suffers from this issue. Most of the experts suggest that immediate way to know about this issue is to see if there is mouth soreness or jaw tightness in the morning.
Your partner may be able to tell if you suffer from this issue. Teeth grinding produces a sound which might not be enough to wake you up. But your partner will surely be able to notice the sound.
Grinding teeth for a bit longer can result in pain in head and ears. This pain can also serve as a sign to be noticed.
Diagnosis and treatment
If you suspect that you suffer from bruxism, you need to visit your dentist. The dentist will check the level of stress being exerted on your teeth by noting the amount of wear on the chewing surface of teeth.
The most likely solution, your dentist is going to suggest you, is the use of mouth guard which would be designed for night use. The major advantage of this night guard is that it prevents upper and lower teeth from touching each other. As a result, you may be able to get rid of this condition permanently. You may be referred to a sleep specialist if your problem is complicated one.