Bruxism is the grinding or clenching of the teeth that is not part of normal chewing movements. It can lead to teeth becoming worn and may cause damage to the teeth and jaw joints.
Bruxism can occur during the daytime or at night whilst sleeping. When grinding the teeth during sleep, the person has no conscious control over these actions.
Many people may not be aware that they grind their teeth whilst sleeping, unless their partner tells them, or symptoms start to emerge.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding can include:
- Fractured, chipped or loose teeth.
- A dull headache, sore jaws and/or ear pain.
- Aching teeth, and stiffness in the face and temples, particularly in the morning after waking up.
- Jaw joints become sore while eating.
- Generalised sensitive teeth.
- Intense jaw clenching.
- Multiple cracked or broken fillings.
- Tooth mobility
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMD)
At your first dental appointment we discuss these signs and symptoms, the causes that maybe contributing to your bruxism and determine if any treatment is required.
Causes of teeth grinding have been related to both physical and psychological stressors.
- Stress and anxiety
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Drugs including antidepressants (SSRIs, SNRIs), antipsychotics, amphetamines (methamphetamine, MDMA), cocaine
Not everyone who clenches or grinds their teeth will require treatment, however one of the first steps in managing bruxism is to try and remove the cause. Therefore, risk factors that can cause bruxism should be avoided where possible.
REPAIR DAMANGED TEETH
Dental fillings, or crowns may be required to repair the damaged or worn tooth structure. Severe tooth wear can affect the appearance of teeth and a smile. In extreme cases, badly damaged teeth may need to be removed.
Sleep bruxism can be linked to obstructive sleep apnoea. We may recommend you be checked for this condition. This may involve being referred to a sleep physician or your general medical practitioner
PROTECT THE TEETH
For people with ongoing teeth clenching or grinding causing discomfort or tooth damage, we may recommend an occlusal splint which works to protect the teeth from the effects of grinding when sleeping and decreases the symptoms such as discomfort from the muscles and jaw joint linked to the grinding.
An occlusal splint is made from hard plastic that fits over the upper or lower teeth, however it only covers part of the teeth, it does not cover the gums. It is different to a sports mouthguard. It helps to protect teeth from wear and damage caused by involuntary teeth grinding or clenching. It also acts to relieve stress and strain on surrounding face and mouth muscles as well as the jaw joints. The splint will not stop the wearer from grinding but helps to take away the some of the signs and symptoms.
Just because a person grinds or clenches their teeth does not automatically mean an occlusal splint is required. It is best to talk with us about your concerns, any symptoms you may be experiencing and whether a splint is the right treatment option for you.
To book an appointment call us on 61161700 or you can book via our website www.dentistatmanning.com.au