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Bruxism and Teeth Grinding

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a common sleep disorder. Sleepers affected with bruxism often grind their teeth or clench their jaw unknowingly during sleep, but can wake up feeling real pain. Bruxism is not only painful, but can lead to other issues such as severe or chronic headaches, mouth, jaw and tooth pain and other dental complications such as weakening or damaging of the teeth.

Bed partners of those with bruxism also find that the disorder disrupts their own sleep, as the sound of teeth grinding can be loud and off-putting. Any disruption of a valuable good night's sleep can have adverse effects on the sufferer as well as their bed partners, and lead to further issues such as fatigue, irritability and stress, which then hinder the ability to perform daily tasks and responsibilities effectively, as well as have drastic effects on happiness and quality of life.

Bruxism is often caused by stress or tension, especially if felt prior to bedtime. To help alleviate symptoms of bruxism, relaxation techniques are recommended. Stretching, hot showers or baths, moderate exercise – although not right before bedtime, but during the day or several hours before bedtime – are shown to help relax muscles and ease stress and tension of the upper body and facial region.

As bruxism can occur in adults and children alike, the Fisher-Titus Sleep Center helps diagnose and treat adults and children ages 3 and older. By performing a sleep study, or sleep test, our physicians and technologists can help determine a path of treatment as well as if bruxism is part of a more severe sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

Common treatment of bruxism often involves fitting a patient with a mouth guard. The mouth guard, often made of a soft plastic material, helps keep teeth aligned properly and prevents contact between the upper and lower teeth which leads to the grinding or clinching. This treatment is frequently effective and available at a relatively low cost.

At the Fisher-Titus Sleep Center, we understand the value of a restful night's sleep, and our staff is here to help you rest easy. Too often, people don't do anything about treating bruxism, believing there is not much that can be done to remedy the situation or that disrupted sleep is commonplace or inevitable. Meanwhile, countless nights are lost without getting the rest and sleep that their bodies require.