Sleep Bruxism: What’s Your Risk?


O'Fallon IL Bruxism TreatmentAccording to Mayo Clinic, bruxism is defined as a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism during the night, it is called sleep bruxism. If that term doesn’t ring a bell, you may be more familiar with the phrase “nighttime teeth grinding.” They are one in the same. While this sleep habit can be quite disturbing to your bed partner, it can be eve more harmful to your dental health.

Your nightly teeth grinding habit is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. It can wear down your teeth, causing sensitivity, chips and cracks. But sleep bruxism is also commonly associated with TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. Problems within your jaw joint can be quite uncomfortable, and even impact your quality of life. Sufferers may experience tension headaches, jaw stiffness, jaw pain and other bothersome symptoms.

While a dentist can likely determine if you grind or clench your teeth at night, it can be helpful to learn your risk factors for this sleep disorder.  In general, the following factors influence your level of risk for sleep bruxism:

  • Stress: Increased anxiety or stress often causes teeth grinding.
  • Age: Bruxism is can occur at any age, but is common young children.
  • Personality: If you have aggressive, competitive or hyperactive traits, you may be at greater risk.
  • Medications and other substances: Certain psychiatric medications can contribute to bruxism, as well as smoking tobacco, drinking caffeinated beverages or consuming alcohol.
  • Family history: Tendencies towards sleep bruxism tend to run in the family.
  • Other disorders or sleep conditions: Bruxism may also be associated with some mental health and medical disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, epilepsy or GERD) as well as other sleep conditions such as sleep apnea, loud snoring and night terrors.

If you suspect that you may grind your teeth while you sleep or if you have some of the major risk factors for sleep bruxism, please let us help. At Soft Touch Dentistry, we proudly offer custom mouthguards for teeth grinders so that your smile is always protected, despite your sleep habits.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Sarah Thompson, Soft Touch Dentistry
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Soft Touch Dentistry

1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050