Bruxism and Sleep – What’s the Connection?

Bruxism is most often found during sleep and is characterized by the clenching, gnashing and grinding of the teeth. This can occur numerous times during sleep and lead to multiple sleep disruptions, as well as cause damage to the teeth. Bruxism occurs most often in the early stages of sleep right before you enter a deep sleep.

Bruxism can also happen unintentionally during waking hours, often as the result of stress or anger, but this is usually noticed within a few seconds by the person suffering from the disorder.

The symptoms of Bruxism usually involve the incisors and canines moving laterally against each other, which can lead to tooth decay of the enamel, and the loss of their sharp biting surfaces. It can also be damaging to any dental work done. Bruxism may also be caused by the molars grinding together. In some people, bruxism will occur through the clenching of the jaw, with very little side to side movement, which can result in pain an often times will most likely disturb sleep. The sound of the teeth grinding together is not usually loud enough to disturb a person’s sleep.

Common signs and symptoms of Sleep-Related Bruxism include:

  • Teeth grinding and/or clenching.
  • Loose, flattened, and/or fractured teeth.
  • Tooth enamel that is worn-down to expose underneath layers of the tooth.
  • Tooth pain and/or sensitivity.
  • Interrupted sleep due to noise from tooth grinding/clenching or tooth pain.
  • Tight or fatigued jaw muscles.
  • Locked or stuck jaw.
  • Pain or soreness of the jaw, neck, or face.
  • Damage to the inside of your cheek from chewing.

Bruxism is a common sleep finding, affecting 10% of people and as many as 15% of children. The bruxism rates decrease with age, and this may be due to the reflexive action that often causes bruxism. Bruxism rates are also higher in people with a family history of the disorder, with rates as high as 50%. Males and females are affected at about the same rate. Bruxism is often undetected.

The first indication that there may be a problem often comes from the dentist who recognizes the damage done to the teeth. Bruxism is often caused by stress or anxiety, and is also found with increased regularity in highly determined people.

If bruxism is suspected, you may need to take steps to prevent or nullify it, depending on its severity. An overnight sleep study is sometimes used to detect bruxism.

If you or a loved one are suffering the symptoms of TMJ, Sleep Apnea, Snoring, OSA, or any other sleep-related breathing disorder, call The TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana, we are here to help!

Call and make an appointment today! We are the experts on these conditions and we will provide you with the very best care. improving quality of life one patient at a time.

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