Do you wake up with an aching, sore jaw? Do your teeth hurt? If so, it’s possible you might need a nightguard. Grinding or clenching your teeth is known as bruxism and it can do more harm than just wear your teeth down. Before you head online for a nightguard, learn more about the causes of bruxism, and then visit your dentist for assistance. Dr. Hahn at Smile Columbia Dentistry can help you with a custom-fitted night guard.

Beautiful woman waking up after a great nights rest

Symptoms of Bruxism

  • Earache
  • Headache when waking up
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Sore/painful jaw
  • Damaged teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Tight jaw muscles
  • Insomnia
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

Causes of Bruxism

Clenching and grinding your teeth is usually an involuntary action that generally happens because you are stressed or feeling anxious. Most people are not aware that they grind their teeth until it leads to other symptoms like sore teeth and headaches. Bruxism is also linked to alcohol consumption, caffeine, sleep apnea, fatigue, and snoring. Using certain medications can also cause you to grind your teeth at night. Some studies suggest that treating sleep apnea may actually alleviate bruxism.

Bruxism and TMJ

If you show the symptoms of bruxism and also notice that your jaw clicks or pops when you open and close it, there’s a good chance you also have TMJ. TMJ can also lead to neck pain, back pain, lockjaw, and severe jaw pain. Talk to your dentist to find out if you have a TMJ. Dr. Hahn will evaluate your jaw and use TENS (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation) to relax your jaw muscles to see if your pain stops. If it does, he can confirm you have TMJ.

Occlusal Bite Guard

To protect your teeth from becoming worn down at night and to alleviate pressure from your jaw, Dr. Hahn will create you a custom-fitted occlusal bite guard, also known as a nightguard. You will wear this every night to protect your teeth and jaw from the harmful effects of bruxism.

Oral Appliance Therapy

In the event that sleep apnea is the culprit for your bruxism, you will need to be fitted for an oral appliance. Oral appliance therapy treats sleep apnea by moving the jaw in a forward position to open your airway at night. With an open airway, you will stop snoring and wake up feeling refreshed.

If you suspect TMJ, sleep apnea, or bruxism, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hahn at Smile Columbia to receive a proper diagnose and treatment for your problems. Give us a call at (803) 781-9090 today.