Skip to main content

Home/Blog / What Does it Mean When I Grind My Teeth While Sleeping?

What Does it Mean When I Grind My Teeth While Sleeping?

Sleep Apnea Spouse SleepingYou may not even realize you grind your teeth while you sleep because you are obviously doing it unconsciously. However, if you discover that you do this, either due to your oral surgeon telling you or your sleeping partner informing you, then steps need to be taken. You need to determine what is causing the grinding, or bruxism, which can be one of several sources.

Anxiety and Stress

Feeling a little stressed at work is normal every now and then. When it occurs on an everyday basis, then you could face some serious health repercussions. Your body might carry out some actions in order to cope with this anxiety, and one of these actions is grinding teeth. Some people grind and clench their teeth while they are awake while others will not do it until they enter deep sleep.

Sleep Apnea

Another reason why you might be experiencing bruxism is because you have sleep apnea. This is a potentially serious medical condition where an individual is unable to breathe properly while sleeping. The reason for this is that something is blocking the airway, preventing proper breathing patterns. Some people will grind their teeth as a way to reopen their airways. In most cases, an oral appliance or a CPAP machine will keep the jaw open just enough to allow for breathing and prevent grinding.

Abnormal Bite

Having crooked, misaligned or missing teeth can also cause a person to have bruxism. This is often treated by fixing the cause for the abnormality. For example, getting a restoration to replace a missing tooth can do a lot of good for multiple areas of your oral health.

Potential Dangers Associated With Bruxism

Grinding teeth while sleeping may not seem like that big of a deal. You might grind your teeth while you are awake. However, it is crucial to find a way to prevent damage or else you will have to deal with numerous problems, including:

• Inability to get a good night’s rest
• Worn down teeth, including chips, cracks and flat surfaces
• Loose teeth or teeth that will completely fall out
• Damage to the temporomandibular joint
• Tooth sensitivity and tooth decay
• Clicking jaw

See a Professional

If someone tells you that you grind your teeth, you need to take it seriously. Prompt treatment can be great for saving your oral structures and even for stopping the effects of sleep apnea. Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona has professional doctors standing by to assist you in any way possible. Contact our Arcadia office at 602-957-0332 or our Tempe office at 480-820-7400.