Many people occasionally grind and clench their teeth, and 8-10% of us suffer from chronic teeth grinding.
And when teeth grinding occurs regularly, your teeth can be harmed, and other oral health issues can arise. Because grinding often occurs while asleep, many people do not know that they grind their teeth.
A dull, consistent headache or sore jaw when you wake up can be a giveaway of bruxism. Often, people discover that they grind their teeth when their loved ones hear the grinding at night.
If you suffer from tooth grinding, West Ryde Dental Clinic can help!
Symptoms of bruxism may include:
- Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake others
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Tired or tight jaw muscles, or a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely
- Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness
- Flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose teeth
- Eroded tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
- Pain that sometimes feels like an earache
- A dull headache starting in the temples
- Sleep disruption
Many of these symptoms are felt upon awakening
What are the causes of bruxism?
The causes of bruxism vary, and the cause of the problem also indicates how it should be treated.
Here are some causes:
- Stress. Physical, chemical or emotional factors that cause bodily or mental tension
- Lifestyle choices can increase bruxism, particularly the use of substances like alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and caffeine
- Abnormal bite
- Missing or crooked teeth
- Sleep disorders such as apnea
- Other medical conditions including ADHD and Parkinson’s Disease
Determining if you suffer from bruxism
If you have any of the symptoms associated with grinding your teeth, talk to us at West Ryde Dental Clinic. We can examine your mouth and jaw for evidence of bruxism, such as excessive wear or jaw tenderness.
What are the issues with bruxism?
Chronic bruxism can lead to fracturing, loosening, shrinking, or loss of teeth. To repair the damage caused by bruxism, root canals, bridges, crowns, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be called for.
Severe bruxism can go beyond damaging teeth and causing tooth loss; it can also damage your jaws, lead to or exacerbate TMD/TMJ, and even change the look of your face.
Dealing with tooth grinding
One solution is the night guard, fitted to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep. A custom night guard provided by West Ryde Dental Clinic can ease your teeth grinding problems. Night guards are custom designed for your mouth to prevent teeth grinding and clenching.
To ensure your bruxism causes no long-term problems, book a consultation with us and an appropriate treatment can be determined. These treatments can range from simple hot packs and occlusal splints or night guards to orthopaedic and orthodontic treatments.
If stress is causing your grinding, consider options to reduce your stress such as:
- Stress counselling
- An exercise program
- A physical therapist
- Muscle relaxants
- Regular sleep
- A good diet
If a sleep disorder causes your bruxism, treating the underlying disorder may reduce or eliminate your grinding habit.
What you can do
- Avoid or cut back on drinks and food containing caffeine, such as coffee, chocolate, and colas.
- Avoid alcohol, which tends to intensify grinding.
- Don’t chew on pencils, pens, or other items that are not food.
- Don’t chew gums as this lets your jaw muscles to get more to clenching, making you more likely to grind your teeth.
- If you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This trains your jaw muscles to relax.
- Loosen your jaw muscles before sleep by holding a warm washcloth to your cheek in front of the earlobe.
Children and tooth grinding
Somewhere between 15% and 33% of children grind their teeth, usually when their baby teeth erupt or when their permanent teeth come in. Typically this grinding stops when the teeth are entirely in.
However, if a child’s grinding seems serious be sure to give us a call at West Ryde Dental Clinic.
Some tips to help a child stop grinding his or her teeth include:
- Manage your child’s stress, especially just before bed.
- Try massage and stretching exercises.
- Make sure your child’s diet includes plenty of water.
- Ask your dentist to monitor your child’s teeth if he or she is a grinder. Your dentist may suggest temporary crowns or a night guard to protect your child’s teeth.
The West Ryde Dental Clinic Advantage
At West Ryde Dental Clinic, our treatments and service are 100% personalised to you and your needs. Our dentists are highly motivated and accredited practitioners with graduate degrees from the University of Sydney.
Alongside our dentists, the supporting staff at West Ryde Dental Clinic are tremendously dedicated and experienced to ensure that each visit with us is as pleasant as possible.
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Call (02) 9809 7000 or visit us at Shop 20 West Ryde Marketplace 14 Anthony Road in West Ryde