Sometimes people grind their teeth at night (known as bruxism) due to stress and anxiety, abnormal bite or other reasons. It can also be caused by sleep apnoea (a sleep disorder). If unmanaged, this can harm your oral health. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions to limit the impact tooth grinding has on your teeth and jaw.
What is tooth grinding?
Tooth grinding is the involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth. Many people grind their teeth occasionally whilst asleep, however, if this action becomes more regular, problems can occur. The force applied during this involuntary habit is often 10 times greater than that applied whilst chewing, and many people can grind their teeth completely unaware for many years.
This extreme force can lead to the breaking and wearing down of teeth and fillings whist also placing stresses on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This prolonged pressure may lead to degeneration of the TMJ, resulting in facial pain, headaches and temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD).
How can I manage tooth grinding?
Managing teeth grinding can help prevent long term complications and a variety of options exist to limit the impact tooth grinding may have on your oral health.
- Relaxation techniques can be extremely helpful in reducing the frequency of grinding by helping manage stress and anxiety. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) may be effective.
- Mouth guards – These are effective because they balance out the pressure on your jaw by creating a barrier that prevents your teeth from rubbing together. This can limit the damage your tooth grinding causes.
- Splints such as a Michigan Splint and SCi Splint. A Michigan splint helps the jaw to correct itself into a new position while protecting the teeth resulting in the reduction of pain and improved jaw movement. SCi splints prevent contact between the upper and lower canines and back teeth, reducing the intensity of grinding in the facial muscles.
- Cerezen is a revolutionary custom-made device which is placed in the ear. Its main effect is a reduction in pain related to the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) and may gradually encourage an improvement in your resting jaw position over time.
What are the benefits of managing tooth grinding?
- Less damage to your teeth.
- Limits damage caused to the TMJ
- Fewer or decreased symptoms of tooth grinding, such as migraines, facial pain, and worn teeth.
- Some treatments are corrective, which can partially or completely resolve the problem.
Other suitable options
How much do tooth grinding treatments cost?
The price of treatments may vary depending on the exact method, however taking an active approach to managing your tooth grinding can save on future dentistry costs and improve your quality of life.
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