jaw painIf you’ve ever woken up with sore jaw muscles or a massive headache, you may not just be having a hangover; you may already be suffering from bruxism.

Bruxism is the constant grinding and clenching of teeth. It usually occurs at night while you’re asleep, although you may also grind your teeth unconsciously during the day. It can result into sore jaw muscles, headaches, pain in teeth and may even cause your teeth to become loose. In worse cases, bruxism can cause problems with your teeth’s bone and gum tissue, as well as TMD.

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism has a number of different causes. Some experts believe that bruxism is nothing more than just a habit, albeit a harmful one at that. Some also believe that it’s the body’s natural reaction when the teeth don’t line up properly. Bruxism may also be a symptom of certain conditions, namely those pertaining to the nerves and face muscles. Bruxism may also be a side effect of medication for depression.

Regardless of what caused it, it’s important to know that bruxism isn’t something that you should just take lightly. Those with severe bruxism are at a real risk of damaging their teeth and breaking their dental restorations, such as fillings, bridgework, crowns and so on.

In addition, severe bruxism has been attributed to the following conditions:

  • Tooth sensitivity, which may be due to the dentist becoming exposed as a result of the constant tooth grinding
  • Severe headaches in the morning and unexplained facial pain
  • Problems with the jaw joints, namely temporomandibular disorders or TMD.

What Are Its Different Signs and Symptoms?

Bruxism, more often than not, is simply an unconscious habit. In fact, most people only discover that they have bruxism after getting their teeth checked at the dentist’s office and discovering that their teeth are already damaged or worn out.

Of course, there are different signs and symptoms of bruxism, such as:

  • A grinding sound at night, usually obvious to anyone who shares a bedroom or a bed with you.
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Unusual tightness in the jaw muscles and pain whenever you try to open your mouth wide, especially in the morning
  • Unexplained facial pain
  • Unusual swelling on the side of your lower jaw, which is likely because your muscles have grown larger due to chronic clenching.

Calling a Professional

If you’ve been waking up with a bad headache and pain in your jaws lately, or have received grinding noise complaints from whoever you’re sleeping with, there’s a huge chance that you have bruxism.

The dentist will then ask you questions regarding your life, such as possible sources of stress, any medicines you’re taking and check your mouth for any sort of problem that may be causing you to grind your teeth, such as misalignment.

The treatment will vary depending on what’s causing your bruxism, but your dentist will recommend that you wear a night guard when sleeping to help prevent further damage to your teeth and gums.

If you’re suffering from bruxism, contact Dr. Graham Farless, DDS at 336-282-2868 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.gsodentist.com for additional information.