Could grinding my teeth and night cause lower back teeth pain. My dentist says that I need to wear an appliance at night, but my teeth look fine. I already have a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. I am concerned that my dentist might find cavities at my next exam. Could something other than teeth grinding cause the pain? – Thank you, Luke
Dr. Thomas would need to examine your teeth and jaw moment and review your x-rays for an accurate diagnosis. If you grind your teeth at night, there are likely signs of wear on them, and they do not look fine.
How Does Teeth Grinding Affect Your Oral Health?
When you grind your teeth, it weakens them and can lead to several issues, including:
- Wear on teeth
- Bulges or notches near the gumline
- Tooth sensitivity
- Jaw or neck pain
During an exam, your dentist should check for signs and symptoms of stress on your teeth.
The pain you describe does not sound like tooth decay is the cause. Possible causes of tooth pain include gum disease or trauma from grinding. Although you already wear a CPAP for sleep apnea, you can benefit from wearing a nighttime mouthguard. The nightguard will serve as a cushion between your teeth to prevent damage while you grind your teeth.
Appliances for Teeth Grinding and Sleep Apnea
Many patients wear a CPAP machine for sleep apnea and a night guard for clenching or grinding. Each appliance has its purpose and will contribute to your oral and overall health. And scientific evidence shows that teeth grinding may be related to sleep apnea. Many oral sleep apnea appliances also resolve teeth grinding by moving your jaw forward to open your airway and alleviate grinding.
If you are hesitant about your dentist’s diagnosis, consider getting a second opinion.
Dr. Siny Thomas, a Sugar Land, Texas dentist, sponsors this post.