What in the World Are YOUR Teeth Doing at Night?

ParafunctionANSWER: If they’re in your mouth (rather than a glass of water) they may be GRINDING or CLENCHING.

Parafunction is a dental term which basically means that your central nervous system may be making you do all sorts of weird things with your teeth at night while you’re sleeping – and you probably don’t even realize you’re doing anything strange.

“And, you thought you held very still and didn’t move a muscle all night!”

Sleep studies have found that many people have a lot of jaw activity during the night. In fact, they have even discovered that babies can have this same muscle activity BEFORE they’re born. During a dental exam, your dentist can actually see the results of this nighttime activity in your mouth.

If you GRIND your teeth during the night, we can usually find evidence that your teeth are wearing down. They may be getting shorter or they may have rough edges or they may actually be broken.

People who CLENCH their teeth while sleeping may have headaches, sore teeth, broken teeth, sore joint muscles (TMJ/TMD) and may even have odd bone growth around their teeth called abfractions.

If our Tyler, TX dentist detects any of these manifestations of parafunction, Dr. Coker usually prescribes a splint called an NTI for you to wear at night. It is small and is worn on your center upper or lower teeth while you sleep. This splint keeps you from clenching and grinding which in turn soothes your joint and eliminates your headaches.

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