Bruxism, or tooth grinding, occurs when the jaw moves in lateral or side to side positions and forward positions, causing clenching and grinding of the teeth. Stress is an indication of bruxism but not the only indication, as it is “not normal for a person to constantly grind their teeth,” says Dr. Bindi Patel, of Pearly Dental Care in Naperville, Illinois.
When a person grinds their teeth at night, Dr. Patel says it can be an underlying cause of a sleep disorder, sleep breathing disorder or even obstructive sleep apnea. She says it’s best to see a dentist to clinically examine the teeth and perhaps order a sleep study, to determine if an underlying sleep breathing disorder exists. If that is the case, Dr. Patel would fabricate an oral appliance which fits in the lower teeth and would eliminate grinding and allow for maximum air flow into the body at night.
The signs that one may be grinding their teeth at night include waking up with tense jaw muscles and pain in the ear and jaws.
Dr. Bindi Patel is a leading sleep expert with Sleep Better TV, providing online, on-demand sleep disorder breathing video content. Dr. Patel practices dentistry at Pearly Dental Care in Naperville, Illinois.