We are witnessing more and more patients seeking advice from us in relation to unintentionally grinding their teeth. This often goes hand in hand with jaw clenching, and is also referred to as ‘bruxism.’ We are witnessing cases of teeth grinding and jaw clenching that occur both intentionally and unintentionally, whilst both awake and sleeping.
Unfortunately, bruxism can often result in a variety of symptoms such as jaw and muscle pain, headaches, stiff joints and interrupted sleep. If this problem is left untreated for a period of time, teeth can become seriously worn down.
What is the Cause of Bruxism?
In most cases, bruxism that occurs during the day happens when patients are anxious or stressed. Patients are partially aware that they are grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw, unlike sleep bruxism where the patient is completely unconscious. However, this can also be caused by stress and/or anxiety.
Other factors that can cause bruxism include age and genetics. It has also been identified that a large intake of alcohol, caffeinated drinks and smoking can result in a greater occurrence of bruxism.
How Can I Prevent Bruxism?
After one of our General Dentists has identified that you are grinding your teeth at your Dental Health Check Appointment, there are a number of options available to you to reduce the side effects of bruxism.
In some cases, correction of your bite may be required to protect your teeth from damage while grinding your teeth.
Night guards are an effective way to protect your teeth while sleeping. There are two night guard options available to patients here at Pembroke Dental:
Hard night guards are made of hard, plastic materials and soft night guards are made of soft, acrylic material. You can discuss your suitability for each night guard with your Dentist.
To ensure the best fit, night guards are custom-made at your dental appointment. The Dentist will take impressions of your teeth and a night guard will be molded for you in our lab. The Dentist will then fit the night guard with you at your next appointment to ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness.
There are also some physiotherapy exercises that our Dentists may recommend alongside the wearing of your night guard. These exercises can relax the muscles surrounding your teeth and jaw in order to help improve your sleep and reduce teeth grinding.
Teeth grinding can be a damaging habit that can cause considerable damage to your teeth if left untreated.
If you have concerns about grinding your teeth, make sure to mention it to one of our General Dentists at your next appointment.