An estimated 10 to 15 percent of the population suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding).
Teeth grinding (technically known as bruxism) is a relatively common affliction, and can cause significant pain and discomfort — not to mention long-term oral health issues — in both children and adults. Read on to learn about what causes teeth grinding, and what can be done to treat this condition.
What are the symptoms and dangers of teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding can occur during the day and at night (during sleeping), and manifests itself in physical symptoms affecting the mouth, teeth and jaw.
- Do you suffer from chipped or broken teeth, crowns or dental fillings?
- Are your teeth sensitive to hot and cold drinks? Teeth grinding can wear down tooth enamel, and even cause tooth degradation and oral disease if left untreated.
- Do you suffer from regular earaches, headaches or facial pain? Bruxism can over-stress the muscles, joints and tendons in the head and face, leading to painful inflammation.
- Is your oral hygiene below-par? Do you suffer from receding or bleeding gums, or dental abscesses?
- Is your chewing inhibited, or do you hear a ‘popping’ or ‘clicking’ sound when you chew? Teeth grinding is also a leading cause of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, which affect the jaw joints, surrounding muscles and ligaments.
Teeth grinding is often most effectively diagnosed by a dentist. Book an appointment with your dentist if you exhibit any of the symptoms listed above, or if someone has told you that they hear you making grinding noises in your sleep
What are the causes of teeth grinding?
There are many potential causes of bruxism – some of which are lifestyle-related, and some of which are physical (related to the size and configuration of your jaw and teeth).
Particularly in adults, stress is a common factor. Individuals who are under a lot of stress, who find it difficult to ‘turn off’ at the end of the day, and who regularly experience difficulty falling or staying asleep, may be prone to teeth grinding.
On the other hand, grinding may be caused by misaligned teeth and/or other problems with the structure of the jaw. In these cases, dental and/or orthodontic intervention can provide effective, long-lasting relief.
There are also established links between teeth grinding and hyperactivity conditions (especially in children), as well as certain medications (such as SSRIs).
What are the treatment options for teeth grinding?
An effective teeth grinding treatment routine will have two aspects: a lifestyle component, and some form of dental intervention.
Lifestyle tips to minimise bruxism include limiting the amount of screen-time before bedtime, and minimising the intake of alcoholic, caffeinated, and sugary drinks. Try to establish a healthy, regular sleep routine. Minimising stress — and changing your habitual reactions to stress — are also crucial measures for long-term treatment of bruxism.
However, for immediate relief from the worst symptoms of teeth grinding, talk to your dentist about mouth guards and other treatment options. Mouth guards function as ‘occlusion splints’: you wear the guard while sleeping, and a thin layer of plastic prevents your teeth from grinding together, giving reprieve to your teeth and gums. More drastic dental interventions include reshaping your teeth (in a process called reductive coronoplasty) to ‘level out’ your bite, and — in some cases — the extraction of wisdom teeth can also provide relief.
Whether you need an orthodontic plan to correct misalignment in the teeth and jaw, or a specialised treatment to relieve the symptoms of TMJ syndrome, your dentist will be best place to study the impact of teeth grinding on your mouth, and recommend the most appropriate course of action.
How can we help?
Your comfort and well-being are at the heart of what we do at Crown Dental Group. We can help you overcome teeth grinding issues such as TMJ syndrome by focusing on pain relief and a treatment plan that effectively targets the underlying cause. For additional information, please read more here.
At Crown Dental Group, we pride ourselves on our caring team’s ability to form long-term, safe, honest and respectful relationships with our patients. To visit our state-of-the-art dental care facility, book an appointment here.
Crown Dental Group specialises in a range of top-quality dental services provided in Rowville and Narre Warren, Melbourne, including dental prosthetics, cosmetic, general and implant dentistry. To find out more about all we have on offer, please consult our website.