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What Can Happen if You Clench Your Teeth While Sleeping

Posted on 2/22/2021 by Watermark Dentistry
What Can Happen if You Clench Your Teeth While SleepingClenching or grinding your teeth while sleeping, also called sleep bruxism, is a highly common condition that can damage your teeth and affect the quality of your sleep. You may not even realize you are doing it until you start to experience uncomfortable symptoms or we notice damage to your teeth during a routine exam. There is not one specific cause of sleep bruxism, but some research links teeth grinding to stress and anxiety. It is important to address sleep bruxism, so it does not lead to the following consequences.

Worn Down or Cracked Teeth

The force of clenching and grinding your teeth creates small fractures in your enamel, and these fractures can spread down to the roots of your teeth. Over time, your teeth can crack from all the repetitive, excessive force of grinding and clenching for hours each night. Not only are cracked teeth at risk of becoming infected, but pieces of your teeth can break off and irritate your gums as well.

Even if bruxism does not cause your teeth to crack, your teeth will still wear down. Weakened teeth are highly susceptible to cavities and decay. You might also have difficulty chewing food and experience discomfort while brushing your teeth. Additionally, wear and tear on your teeth and the accompanying bite issues can cause your jawbone to wear down unevenly, which puts you at risk for losing teeth in the future.

Damage to Restorative Work

Crowns, veneers, dentures, and other restorative dental work can also become damaged if you clench your teeth. The porcelain used for crowns and veneers is very durable, but it can still break just like your natural teeth can. Sleep bruxism does not damage dentures directly since you remove them at night, but the fact that clenching and grinding wears down your jawbone means that your dentures will stop fitting properly, and you will need to get them refitted or replaced more frequently.

Other Symptoms

Sleep bruxism can also cause a variety of other uncomfortable symptoms. Many people who grind their teeth at night report jaw soreness, tension headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and trouble feeling well-rested. Thankfully, a custom mouth guard can protect your teeth from the force of clenching and grinding and prevent these other issues from occurring. Come see us if you are concerned that you might be clenching your teeth while asleep.
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