Are you wondering if you may clench or grind while you are asleep?
Here are some things that may point to a problem.
1. Your sleeping partner has told you that you grind your teeth. It would be a strange thing to them to say if it weren’t true!
2. Your teeth are chipping or cracking. Teeth are strong, and normal eating of food doesn’t cause much damage if at all. When people who grind (called bruxism) are sleeping, they can put substantially more force on their teeth than they can when consciously trying to bite as hard as possible. This has been measured in research!
3. Your front teeth are shaped closer to squares than vertical rectangles. Look at the photos of you in 10th grade. Your teeth looked longer than they do right now, don’t they? A typical ratio of height of a front tooth vs. it’s width is 80%.
4. You have jaw tightness in your muscles that you chew with, typically in the morning. Muscles are tighten when they contract excessively. It feels good to stretch them out and massage them. Those with tight muscles in their back cheeks and temple areas have been working out those muscles. Too bad a Fit Bit doesn’t track the mileage your masseter muscles do at night!
5. You have headaches when you wake up regularly. It is not normal to wake up with a headache or migraine. Muscle tension often leads to headaches when you wake up. Is this a problem for you?
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The above are not the only signs, in fact, you need a professional to evaluate if you do clench and grind. If you think you do clench and are concerned, we recommend staying away from a store bought night guard, because they often do more harm to your TMJ’s and muscles than good.