Teeth grinding (bruxism)
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching (also called bruxism) is often related to stress or anxiety.
It does not always cause symptoms, but some people get facial pain and headaches, and it can wear down your teeth over time.
Most people who grind their teeth and clench their jaw are not aware they’re doing it.
It often happens during sleep, or while concentrating or under stress and this is what our patients have said. Or some of them do not notice they are doing it until their dentist shows them the silent problems in their mouth.
Symptoms of teeth grinding
- facial pain
- pain and stiffness in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) and surrounding muscles, which can lead to temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
- disrupted sleep (for you or your partner)
- worn-down teeth, which can lead to increased sensitivity and even tooth loss
- broken teeth or fillings
Facial pain and headaches often disappear when you stop grinding your teeth.
Tooth damage usually only happens in severe cases and may need treatment.
When to see a dentist
See a dentist if:
- your teeth are worn, damaged or sensitive
- your jaw, face or ear is painful
- your partner says you make a grinding sound in your sleep
The dentist will check your teeth and jaw for signs of teeth grinding.
You may need dental treatment if your teeth are worn through grinding to avoid developing further problems, such as infection or a dental abscess.
See a dentist if your teeth grinding is related to stress. They’ll be able to recommend ways to help manage your stress.
Treating teeth grinding
There are a number of treatments for teeth grinding.
Using a mouth guard or mouth splint reduces the sensation of clenching or grinding your teeth.
They also help reduce pain and prevent tooth wear, as well as protecting against further damage.
Other treatments include muscle-relaxation exercises and sleep hygiene.
If you have stress or anxiety, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be recommended.
What causes teeth grinding?
Stress and anxiety
Teeth grinding is most often caused by stress or anxiety and many people are not aware they do it. It often happens during sleep.
Teeth grinding can sometimes be a side effect of taking certain types of medicine.
In particular, teeth grinding is sometimes linked to a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
If you snore or have a sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), you’re more likely to grind your teeth while you sleep. OSA interrupts your breathing while you sleep.
You’re also more likely to grind your teeth if you:
Dr Singh has extensive training in treating problems associated with the jaw joint and bite, or what we call ‘Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorders’. These come in many forms and the symptoms can include:
- Painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth.
- Pain in the chewing muscles or jaw joint, especially first thing in the morning or in the evening after a stressful day.
- Soreness in the jaw.
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth or locking of the jaw.
- Jaw muscle stiffness.
- Headaches or radiating pain in the face, shoulders and neck.
- Ringing in the ears.
- A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.
- Can be mistaken for chronic toothache.
Although accidents involving injuries to the jaw, head, or neck, or diseases such as arthritis may result in some bite problems, Using detailed bite evaluation we can diagnose any discrepancies with your bite. We also use it to get the accuracy of newly fitted restorations 100% correct to make your restorations last longer
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How is it treated?
Our dentist is fully trained to diagnose these problems and treat them. He uses ‘TMJ therapy’ and bite adjustment with a specialised guard. The therapy involves wearing a Hard Night guard – stabilisation splint.
This is carefully fabricated and adjusted to relax the chewing muscles and place the jaw joint in a comfortable position to allow it to heal properly.
Once the pain has been resolved over a period of 2-6 months, certain restorative treatment may be required to correct the bite.
In summary, careful planning and analysis will allow the treatment to be designed around your individual needs.
The facial muscles and jaw joints are all part of a system that is controlled by the brain. Because Dr. Singh has a detailed understanding of this system, he can detect specific reasons that cause harmful bite patterns and head and neck pain.
When muscles and joints do not work properly, the muscles will often tire. The tiredness can become part of a cycle that results in tissue damage, pain, muscle tenderness and spasm.
Although accidents involving injuries to the jaw, head, or neck, or diseases such as arthritis may result in some bite problems, Using detailed bite evaluation we can diagnose any discrepancies with your bite. We also use it to get the accuracy of newly fitted restorations 100% correct to make your restorations last longer.