Do you or a family member frequently wake with a headache, face or jaw pain or something that feels like an earache? You may be grinding your teeth while you’re sleeping. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, effects children and adults, and has multiple signs and symptoms including:

  •     Teeth grinding or clenching
  •     Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
  •     Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
  •     Increased tooth sensitivity
  •     Jaw or face pain or soreness
  •     Tired or tight jaw muscles
  •     Pain that feels like an earache, though it’s actually not a problem with your ear
  •     Dull headache originating in the temples
  •     Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
  •     Indentations on your tongue

Sometimes the grinding is loud and can be heard by a sleep partner. Sometimes it can be so disruptive it wakes whoever is grinding their teeth!

While we don’t completely understand what causes bruxism, some of the most typical causes are anxiety and stress, abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth (malocclusion) and other sleep problems, like sleep apnea. Additionally, certain personalities – aggressive, competitive or hyperactive – are more likely to experience bruxism.

Bruxism can also be a complication of other disorders, like Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s and may be a side effect of some antidepressant medications. If you are being treated for any of these disorders, please contact your physician about your bruxism.

During your regularly scheduled appointment, Dr. Hawkins will evaluate your teeth and gums, looking for signs of any issues that can cause long-term problems, including bruxism. If he notices signs of bruxism he will discuss possible causes and treatment plans with you.  Treatment could be remedying tooth alignment or a night-time retainer. Left untreated, bruxism will cause significant damage to teeth and gums.

If you or your children are experiencing any of the symptoms don’t wait, call and schedule an appointment with Hawkins Dentistry. There is no reason to suffer when help is available!