Sleep bruxism is sometimes the side-effect of sleep apnea or snoring, while awake bruxism can be a side-effect of stress. However, not everyone with it is dealing with a sleep disorder or stress, and everyone with a sleep disorder or a lot of stress in their lives will have it. Improperly aligned teeth can also cause bruxism.
Treatment can sometimes be tricky because there isn’t a single clear cause, so the focus tends to be on reducing symptoms and minimizing the damage. You might not be consciously aware of a teeth-grinding habit, but if you experience at least some of the following symptoms, it could be because of bruxism:
There are a variety of treatments or approaches to either reduce the grinding or the damage it causes, depending on the type you have.
You can become more aware of your clenching/grinding habits with behavioral therapy or habit-reversal techniques and consciously work to stop. Because it’s much harder to control what your jaw muscles do in your sleep, this option tends to work better for awake bruxism.
Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, massages, warm baths, calming music, and a full night’s sleep can help you de-stress and stop grinding if it’s stress-related.
Medicine is rarely used to treat it, especially if other treatments are helping, but muscle relaxant medication prescribed by your doctor might help you unclench while you sleep.
Schedule an appointment with us if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms. It may be due to bruxism, and we can make a plan for how to address it. You don’t want to leave it untreated until it gets to the point where it’s damaging your teeth.
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