Have you ever noted that you wake up with a headache, pain in jaw and sore teeth? You may have a habit of grinding your teeth at night. This condition is called bruxism.
Some dentists say that teeth grinding occurs due to stress and anxiety, but it can also occur due to misaligned teeth.
Grinding teeth pain: Facial pain due to grinding teeth
Bruxism pain or grinding teeth pain refers to the tooth or mouth pain due to teeth grinding and teeth clenching, as a result of a forceful contact between the teeth.
A habit of grinding teeth in the night may cause pain that feels like an earache. Though the pain is actually not a problem with your ear, it feels as if something is happening in the ear. You may experience pain in jaw, neck or face (facial pain).
The pain may cause stiffness in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) and surrounding muscles, which can cause temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
Sometimes, teeth grinding also causes a dull headache that starts in the temples.
Facial pain and headaches generally go away on their own when your child stops grinding the teeth. While teeth grinding can cause tooth damage, but it usually occurs only in severe cases and may need proper treatment.
See also: Teeth Grinding or Jaw Clinching: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment
See also: Night Guard (Mouth Guard or Dental Guard) for Teeth Grinding
What to do if your child has grinding teeth pain?
If you suspect or observe that your child is grinding his or her teeth or shows other signs or symptoms of bruxism such as pain, you should consult a pedodontist (a dentist specialized in th4e treatment of dental problems in children).
Treatment of teeth grinding pain
Commonly used treatment methods for teeth grinding pain are:
- A mouth guard (also called a mouth splint or night guard) reduces the sensation of clenching or grinding your teeth. They also help reduce the pain and protect the teeth against further damage. Many dentists suggest night guards as a measure to prevent bruxism.
It is a transparent, hard guard made of an acrylic material that can be worn over the teeth to prevent teeth clenching and grinding in sleep. Your dentist takes an impression of your teeth and creates a customized night guard after moulding according to the shape of your teeth. Over-the-counter plastic guards are also available that are less expensive, but they sometimes do not fit well.
- Muscle-relaxation exercises
- Sleep hygiene
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be recommended of the cause of teeth grinding is likely stress or anxiety
- Pain relieving medicines should be taken after proper consultation with a dentist
According to reports, bruxism is a common cause of aching teeth that affects millions of people of all ages in the United States. If left untreated, severe tooth grinding can cause damage to the crowns and fillings, tooth enamel, leading to an increased risk for infection and decay of teeth.
In most cases, the above treatment options are effective in stopping bruxism, which is enough to stop the related grinding teeth pain. But, sometimes, additional treatment may be needed for pain relief if the condition has caused damaged to the teeth such as tooth decay, cavities, tooth wearing, cracks, etc. in such cases, your dentist may also recommend:
- Sensitive teeth tooth paste
- Dental crowns
- Heat packs
- Tooth decay treatment