Teeth grinding is a condition whereby one excessively grinds or clenches their teeth. Typically grinding and clenching occurs mostly when sleeping but some individuals may grind and clench during the day also. Teeth grinding is also referred to as bruxism. Teeth grinding can create numerous problems such as local muscular pain, headaches, loss of tooth structure, gum recession, loose teeth, shortening of teeth, tooth sensitivity, cracked and broken teeth, damage to the bone structure of the jaw joint with temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ syndrome), and even facial changes. Children that grind due to a breathing airway problem can have developmental issues.
HOW IS TEETH GRINDING DIAGNOSED?
The dentist can usually diagnose sleep bruxism by taking a thorough history and performing a clinical examination. The doctor will look for symptoms which may include headaches, muscle pain, jaw tenderness, shortened teeth, gum recession, notches or indentations on the gum line of teeth, tooth sensitivity, cracked and broken teeth, and temporomandibular joint syndrome.
HOW IS TEETH GRINDING TREATED?
Treatment options that may include:
• repair of tooth damage
• fixing fillings that are to high
• a special mouthguard (‘bite splints’) to wear at night so that the guard is worn down instead of your teeth. In most cases, a bite splint will only help with the symptoms and will not stop you from grinding altogether.
• stress management therapy
• relaxation techniques
• cognitive behaviour therapy
• regular exercise
• medication that relaxes the muscles.
DID YOU KNOW?
Severe bruxism may lead to:
Damage to your teeth, restorations, crowns or jaw
Disorders that occur in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), located just in front of your ears, which may sound like clicking when you open and close your mouth