Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can occur both while you sleep and subconsciously while you're awake. However, it most often happens at night, which means that many people who grind their teeth aren't even aware of it. So how do you know if you grind your teeth at night?
Here are some common symptoms:
- Pain in the jaw, face, and ears
- Damage to teeth - loosened, flattened, chipped, or worn down
- Breakage of fillings and crowns
- Increased sensitivity in teeth when exposed to hot or cold
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stiff shoulders
If you suspect you might be grinding your teeth, you should see your dentist. They can examine your teeth for wear and suggest a method of treatment. This often means wearing a mouth guard at night, but can also be treatment of underlying conditions such as stress, anxiety, or depression. It is important to seek treatment as soon as you become aware that you might be grinding your teeth, because teeth grinding can cause long-term issues such as temporomandibular disease (TMJ), worsening of existing gum inflammation, and reduced jaw mobility if left untreated.