Grinding and clenching your teeth during sleep is common and this can happen for most from time to time. However, when teeth grinding and clenching occurs regularly during sleep, medically called sleep bruxism, sadly this is where complications can arise, such as worn and damaged teeth, jaw muscle discomfort and TMJ pain.
The key challenge with sleep bruxism is that although the condition affects between 10 - 20% of the population, many are unaware they are suffering from it and therefore do not seek treatment until such complications are present. Bruxism when sleeping is difficult to control; an individual during sleep can employ up to 250 pounds of force with their bite strength, whilst tightly clenching and grinding their teeth.
With Dr Desai’s dental background and sleep expertise, she can evaluate whether it is likely you’re a sufferer of sleep bruxism and can offer a bespoke lab-made night guard or occlusal splint to treat the condition and help you get a better, more relaxed night's sleep without the morning aches and pains associated with it.
Grinding or clenching teeth can put pressure on the oral structure: muscles, tissues, and jaw. This pressure translates into:
- anxiety, stress, and tension
- earache, as some temporomandibular joint structures are close to the outer ear canal. The pain may not be directly in the ear, it may be referred pain from a nearby area
- eating disorders
- muscle sensitivity, especially in the morning
- dental sensitivity when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods
- jaw pain or swelling
These are general symptoms, although some people may grind and clench their teeth but show no symptoms. Things that can affect how long the clenching lasts include: patient stress levels, teeth not being aligned, posture, diet, and sleeping habits.