While You Were Sleeping (or trying to)

Published by Dr. Charles Gemmi

A Board Certified Orthodontist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. Charles Gemmi has been a practicing orthodontist with Orthodontics Limited since 2000 and is a member of the teaching staff at Einstein Medical Center. Orthodontics Limited is a Diamond+ Provider of Invisalign in Philadelphia and Hatboro, PA.

ARE YOU SLEEPING AS WELL AS YOU’D LIKE? If you said “no”, you’re not alone. A 2011 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly two thirds of adults, and 90% of teens say that their sleep needs are not being met.

Often this is due to scheduling issues, but sometimes the blame lies in sleep disorders. And one sleep disorder in particular can have a major impact on your oral health—and your orthodontic plan.

Sleep Bruxism

Bruxism is defined as the involuntary or habitual grinding of teeth, typically during sleep. 70% of people demonstrate some kind of bruxing behavior, and for at least 8% of adults, it can cause major problems.

Are You A Sleeping Bruxist?

Since it usually happens during sleep, it may be hard to know if you’re grinding your teeth. So check for these symptoms:

  • Constant waking while sleeping
  • Regular headaches
  • A sore jaw or neck
  • Worn-down, flattened teeth
  • Do your family members grind their teeth? Bruxism may be hereditary.

If you are experiencing any one of these things, let us know!

How Bruxism Affects Your Oral Health, And Your Braces

Bruxism can affect your orthodontic treatment because it puts extra stress on your brackets and wires. We’ll want to keep a special eye on potential problems, so it’s important that you tell us about it. Bruxism can also cause major damage to your teeth and dental work. It can result in fracturing, loosening, and even tooth loss. It puts a lot of strain on your jaw and cranial muscles, which can lead to more serious problems. So let’s talk about prevention.

How To Avoid Teeth Grinding

  1. Cut back on caffeine, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use.
  2. Don’t chew on anything that is not food (pencils and pens are for writing).
  3. If you suspect that anxiety contributes to your bruxism, ask us, or your doctor, about options to help reduce stress.
  4. Consider a night mouth guard (a well-fitting night guard can relieve strain, cause your jaw to relax at night, and greatly reduce grinding and clenching).
  5. The good news is that sometimes orthodontic treatment can stop bruxism! Since it aligns your bite, it can relieve stress on your jaw.

Other Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep

If you have any questions about the effects of bruxism, call us. You can also comment below, or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

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