About Teeth Grinding
Grinding your teeth, also known as Bruxism, is the involuntary clenching, grinding and gnashing of the teeth. It often happens when you are asleep, but some people also grind their teeth when they’re awake. Many people may not be aware that they grind their teeth whilst sleeping, usually it is a parent or partner that may hear, or symptoms start to emerge. It can lead to teeth becoming worn and may cause damage to teeth and jaw joints.
Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding may include:
- Aching teeth, particularly after waking up
- A dull headache, sore jaw and/or ear pain
- Cracked or chipped tooth enamel
- Generalized sensitive teeth
- Jaw joints becoming sore while eating
- Aching or stiffness of the face and temples just after waking up
- Fractured, chipped or loose teeth
- Multiple cracked or broken fillings
- Clenching of the jaw when anxious, angry or concentrating
- Sore jaw muscles
Causes for teeth grinding can be related to both physical and psychological stressors.
- Stress and anxiety
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Drugs: Antidepressants, anti-psychotics, amphetamines, cocaine
Your dentist can help to assess the influence of these factors.
If you think you grind your teeth, speak with your dentist. They will look at your teeth and talk about possible treatment options such as:
- repairing damage to teeth
- assessment of risk factors
- repairing any damage to fillings or crowns
- rule out other types of tooth wear such as erosion
- fitting an occlusal splint
- management of bruxism: stress management, good sleep hygiene and regular exercise
Occlusal Splint – Protecting the Teeth
Your dentist may suggest an occlusal splint sometimes referred to as a night guard, night mouthguard or bite splint. It works to protect the teeth from the effects of grinding when sleeping and decrease other symptoms such as discomfort in the muscles and jaw joint. It is made from a hard plastic that fits over your teeth.
Each splint is custom made by your dentist to suit your individual needs.
Teeth grinding is a very common condition but is important to treat to prevent further dental complications. Please speak to our Smile Place Dental team if you are concerned about teeth grinding or have any further questions.