Teeth Grinding And Your Headaches

  • April 22, 2016

How often does this happen to you?

You wake up after what should be a good night’s sleep. Instead, you wake up with a pounding headache. You felt fine when you went to bed.

So, what could have happened?

It’s possible that you are suffering from bruxism, which is teeth grinding and clenching, in your sleep. As you might suspect, changing your behavior when you are unconscious is not an easy thing to do.

It’s also not impossible. We know this at Forever Young Dentistry because we have helped several patients with similar issues.

We want to help you, too. All you need to do is make an appointment to visit our dentist office in Sterling Heights, MI.

What Causes Bruxism?

That, unfortunately, is not a simple question to answer.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, around 8 percent of adults grind their teeth in their sleep. The exact reasons for this are not known, although there is a correlation between teeth grinding and a variety of issues.

Stress, anxiety, and fatigue can affect some people. Teeth grinding may be your way of coping with the day-to-day stress you experience with your work and your relationships.

Alcohol and caffeine consumption could be a contributing factor for some patients. The same is true for smoking.

For other people, bruxism can be a complication related to sleep apnea or snoring problems.

What Are Other Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding?

Headaches, including migraines, are one of many possible symptoms of bruxism.

There’s a good reason for that. A normal human bite can generate 200 to 250 pounds of force per square inch.

People who are grinding their teeth have been regularly measured to generate 500 pounds of pressure, although in a few cases, people have produced more than 900 pounds of force.

That’s a lot of extra pressure on your teeth, on your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), and the muscles around those joints.

Your TMJ are located where your jawbone connects to your skull near your ears. Given its location, it’s no wonder headaches and migraines are a common symptom of bruxism.

Here are some other common problems:

  • Earaches
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Temporary inability to move your jaw

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that bruxism is often a contributing factor in TMJ disorders.

How Can A Dentist Help?

Dr. Young takes a lot of pride in his ability to diagnose bite and joint problems.

It’s possible that your bruxism may be a result of an alignment issue with your teeth. This isn’t always the cause, but it is something he will examine.

One way to help prevent teeth grinding is by creating a bite guard for you to wear while you sleep. Bite guards will stop your teeth from touching one another so you can’t clench or grind them together.

You also may receive a Kois deprogrammer. In a way, you could think of this as a physical therapy tool for your mouth. The deprogrammer will “train” you mouth to rest in a more relaxed position.

With time, this will become your new normal resting position, which will make it less likely that you will continue grinding your teeth.

We may discuss how changing your dietary habits could help, and how stress may affect you teeth grinding, too.

Bruxism And Sleep Apnea

If your bruxism is a symptom of sleep apnea, then we may be able to help with that, too.

Many patients have come to our office after they have had a sleep study to confirm their sleep apnea. (This is a sleep disorder in which patients stop breathing while they are asleep.)

You may have a CPAP machine to help with your sleep apnea, but you may not be using it for a variety of reasons. You may find the mask bothersome or irritating, or you may be taking the mask off in your sleep. In those cases, you are not really treating your condition.

We can create a mouthguard that will both open your airways and keep you from grinding your teeth together. This may be just what you need to correct both of these issues at the same time.

Get Rid Of Your Headaches

We want our patients to sleep well and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Helping you with your teeth grinding is just one of the ways we do that at Forever Young Dentistry.

To schedule an appointment at our dentist office in Sterling Heights, MI, call 586-698-7135 or use our online form to make an appointment.