Sleep Bruxism can affect both children and adults. The disorder can affect you and your partner’s ability to get a good night’s rest. Many cases do not require treatment but if severe enough you can cause damage to your teeth and experience pain and fatigue in your jaw muscles leading to further complications.
What is Sleep Bruxism?
Sleep Bruxism is a condition in which you may clench, grind or gnash your teeth while you sleep. This condition can also occur unconsciously during the day, when you are not asleep, known as simply Bruxism. It can be caused by a variety of reasons including both physical and psychological. Some of the suspected causes include stress, suppressed frustration or anger, misalignment of the upper and lower teeth, it can be in response to ear pain or complications of other disease processes such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease. Uncommonly, it is a side effect of some psychiatric medications.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Bruxism
Many people who have Sleep Bruxism may not even be aware of the disorder. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms which can include:
- Chewed tissue inside your cheek or indentions on your tongue
- Frequent Headaches or Jaw Pain
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth, your sleep partner may be able to hear this, the sound can be loud enough to awaken them from sleep
- Damaged teeth – teeth may be chipped, fractured, worn down or flattened
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain or tightness in your jaw muscles
- Chronic facial pain
Treatments for Sleep Bruxism
Sleep Bruxism may be mild and sometimes does not require any treatment. Some cases may be more frequent and severe leading to disorders of the jaw, damage to the teeth, headaches and other potential harmful conditions. Usually children who experience Bruxism will outgrow it and most cases in adulthood can be managed by managing the cause and are usually not severe enough to require treatment.
If treatment is necessary it can include use of a dental splint or a mouth guard at night, these can be custom fit for your mouth by your dentist. Correction of misaligned teeth or jaw can help if this was the cause. If you have damaged your teeth you may require dental intervention to repair the damage and prevent further complications.
Sleep Bruxism caused by stress may be managed with stress management strategies such as relaxation, meditation, exercise or professional counseling.