How to Tell If You're Grinding Your Teeth

Posted on: 28 October 2015

Teeth grinding, known by experts as bruxism, is a sleep disorder that can be hard to diagnose. This is troubling since grinding your teeth together as you sleep can cause damage to your chewing muscles, jaw, and the teeth themselves.

Most people who grind their teeth at night have no idea that they're doing it since they are unconscious when the act takes place. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to tell if you're a grinder.

Ask Your Partner

If you sleep with a partner, one of the easiest ways to find out if you grind your teeth is to ask them to pay attention to you as you sleep.

Teeth grinding is actually quite loud, so ask your partner if they've ever been kept awake by such a sign during the night, or ask them to stay up a little after you've gone to sleep to see if they notice anything.

Look at Your Teeth

Since grinding causes structural changes in your mouth, some people will be able to discern signs of the disorder simply by looking in the mirror. Start by noting whether all of your teeth appear to be the same length. If they seem relatively flat, with no differences in length, it's a strong indication that they have been worn down by grinding.

If you're still not sure, check other areas of your mouth. Grinding may cause tooth indentations on either side of the tongue or raised and sensitive tissue on the inside of each cheek.

Take Note of Aches and Pains

Even if your teeth show no signs of cosmetic damage, you could still be grinding at night. In fact, the stress which grinding causes can result in aches and pains during the day.

Pain is most likely to occur right after you wake up and will usually manifest itself as either a headache or pain in the ear or jaw. Your teeth may also ache and your face may feel a little stiff, particularly as you're eating your breakfast. Hot or cold drinks may cause sensitivity due to the erosion of tooth enamel. Additionally, teeth grinders may find that they tend to clench their teeth together when angry or anxious.

If you have reason to believe that you might be grinding your teeth, make sure you book an appointment with a dentist, such as those at The Happy Tooth Kurri Kurri, as soon as possible. They'll be able to inspect your teeth for signs of wear before providing you with a sleep guard to stop the problem from occurring.