You may be grinding your teeth but just don’t know it!

Do you wake up with sore teeth, facial facial or jaw joints? Have you experienced increased sensitivity to hot/cold in your teeth or noticed that your teeth are getting shorter and shorter every year? If you answer yes any of the above questions, you may be grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding or bruxism is quite common, and very often people do it while they are sleeping, so are unaware they’re doing it and often strongly deny it when asked the question by dental professionals. Of course, without monitoring you constantly with a camera while you are sleeping, we can never say for absolute certainty whether you are a nocturnal teeth grinder or not.

However, we can often make accurate diagnosis from the appearance of your teeth (are they flat, with enamel worn out? are there crack lines and chips?) or certain symptoms (tight facial muscle or sore teeth when waking up in the morning, for example).

Nocturnal bruxism is not something you can control- but there are many ways your dentist can help mitigate the damaging effects, either through physiotherapy, medications, or appliance therapy, e.g. custom night-guard.

Note that a night-guard is very different a mouth-guard/sports-guard. Over-the-counter sports-guards are bulky, soft, and do the job just fine for most people unless you are a demanding athlete. A bulky, soft, non-fitted night-guard may not only prevent you from getting good sleep because it’s uncomfortable, it may also do more harm than damage if the bite or occlusion is not adjusted properly. Custom night-guards are specifically tailor-made from moulds of your teeth to ensure maximum comfort, durability, and protection against damages from bruxism.

sports mouthguards
nightguard

Here is a great article that relates bruxism to stress:

Article on Stress and Tooth Grinding in the National Post

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