Strange as it may seem, your dentist can tell a lot about your sleep patterns and behaviors just by looking closely at what’s going inside your mouth. No, this isn’t some sort of magical power. It’s actually because there are some strong connections between your teeth and your sleep that dentists deal with all the time.
Today’s blog is about a common, and potentially debilitating connection, and it may surprise you.
The Secrets Teeth Keep…
Our bodies are amazing machines, but like any machine, it requires maintenance. For your body, you have to allow for adequate rest to ensure rejuvenation and proper function. Any time there are disruptions to our sleep, that loss of rest can manifest itself in many different ways.
Two of those manifestations can be in the form of bruxism and something called TMJ disorder. Bruxism is really just a fancy term for teeth grinding, and TMJ disorder, or TMD, involves the joints in your jaw that move when you speak, eat, and chew.
When you grind your teeth at night, you’ll see evidence of that behavior elsewhere. For example, you might wake up with a painful headache or migraine more often than you care to count.
Maybe it’s become completely normal for you to wake up feeling tired, as if you hardly slept at all. You’ve tried moving your bedtime up a little earlier to see if that helped, but it hasn’t. Day after day, not only do you wake up feeling tired, but that exhaustion only worsens as the day progresses, making it hard for you to focus at school, work, or worse, behind the wheel.
Another symptom you might be experiencing if you grind your teeth is pain and muscle tension anywhere from your facial area, your jaw, head, neck, shoulders, or your back. You might even suffer from pain that resembles that of an ear infection.
All of these involve more internalized evidence of bruxism or TMD because they’re all something you will feel but can’t see. But what about external signs of it? That’s where your dentist can seem like he or she has some sort of mystical gift, but it’s actually quite simple.
One of the ways a dentist can tell if you grind your teeth while you sleep is by examining your teeth for signs of wear and tear. Habitually grinding your teeth, depending on how often and the level of pressure, can wear your teeth down to almost nothing. Over time, you’ll see a visual imbalance, and you’ll probably feel that imbalance as well when you bite down or chew your food.
You might hear evidence of an imbalance to your bite alignment, too. When you eat, speak, chew, or yawn, you might hear a popping or clicking sound in your jaw. Depending on the severity of the misalignment or irritation to your jaw, you might even feel it pop as it moves.
How To Know If You Have Bruxism Or TMD
Bruxism and TMD have a complicated connection. Each condition can be the cause of the other and each one can aggravate the other.
Either way, the symptoms are very similar. And all of them can make your life miserable! That’s why you’ll be glad you stumbled upon today’s blog. Our team at Cosmetic Dental Associates in San Antonio can help you find relief.
Dr. Moore is a highly trained specialist who’s experienced in successfully diagnosing and treating bruxism and TMD. When you schedule an appointment with Dr. Moore, he can discuss any symptoms you’ve been experiencing and give you a thorough examination to help you find the answers you need to start living pain-free as soon as possible.
If you suspect your sleep might have something to do with pain or discomfort we mentioned in today’s blog, give us a call and let us help you today!