If you wake from what you thought was a restful night’s sleep with a sore jaw, a headache, or a neck ache, it’s likely that you were grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw as you slept. The condition is called bruxism, and it affects 1 in 10 adults at nighttime. About 15% of adolescents and up to 50% of children suffer from the uncomfortable problem, too. Our pain management team has some advice on bruxism.
At Pain Treatment Institute, our double board-certified pain management physician, Sameer Syed, MD, MDH, meets with you at one of our offices in Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Rockwall, or Sherman, Texas. Dr. Syed’s goal is to get to the root of what’s causing your bruxism, so he can customize a plan to treat you.
Here he discusses the causes and symptoms of bruxism and what you can do to relieve the chronic pain it causes.
Common causes of teeth grinding and clenching
If you’re clenching and grinding while you sleep, it’s often due to:
- Change in sleep habits
- Sleep apnea
- Alcohol consumption
- Teeth misalignment
Teeth clenching and grinding is even associated with excessive caffeine intake.
Symptoms of teeth grinding
Some of the painful problems you may experience because of bruxism are:
- Jaw pain
- Tender gums
- Worn-down teeth
- Stiff, sore neck
- Tooth sensitivity
- Fractured teeth
- Face pain
If your teeth click when you eat or talk, that can be a sign that you grind your teeth during the night.
First-line remedies for teeth grinding
In most cases, Dr. Syed first recommends these conservative strategies to help you deal with bruxism:
- Practice stress-reduction techniques
- Wear a mouthguard when you sleep
- Correct misalignments with braces or Invisalign®
- Sleep on your side or back
- Maintain regular dental checkups to catch problems early
- Schedule regular physical therapy sessions for your jaw
- Make time for therapeutic massages
- Use heat therapy
- Have acupuncture treatments
If you’ve already tried these options and you require further intervention to relieve chronic pain that’s caused by grinding and clenching, he tailors your treatment plan using a multimodal approach.
To stop your tooth clenching and grinding, he may recommend one or a combination of therapies, including muscle relaxers, antidepressants, pain medications, Botox® injections, fluoroscopic or ultrasound-guided injections, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
You don’t have to live with migraines, toothaches, sore gums, daily headaches, earaches, or any other kind of persistent pain that teeth clenching causes.