Do you wake up with sore jaws or a headache in the morning? Do you frequently clench or grind your teeth, even during the day? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from bruxism.
Bruxism, the medical term for teeth grinding or jaw clenching, is a common condition that affects both adults and children. It can occur during the day or at night, although night-time bruxism is more common and often goes unnoticed.
The causes of bruxism are not entirely clear, but stress and anxiety are believed to be major factors. Other possible causes include an abnormal bite, missing or crooked teeth, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
Regardless of the cause, bruxism can lead to serious dental problems if left untreated. Grinding or clenching can cause tooth sensitivity, chipping or cracking of teeth, and even tooth loss in severe cases. It can also cause pain and discomfort in the jaw, headaches, and earaches.
Whilst there is often no pain in the mouth, the signs of tooth grinding include:
- Rough edges developing on the front teeth
- Front teeth becoming short, stubby or chipped
- Teeth becoming sensitive or loose
- Sore jaw muscles
Once the teeth are significantly worn down, repair is complicated and expensive. It is better to slow the process down by wearing a protective night splint. There are a few different designs of splint, which we are happy to discuss with you.
So, what can you do to stop the grind of bruxism?
- Identify the cause: Try to identify the cause of your bruxism. If stress or anxiety is the cause, try to find ways to relax and manage your stress. Counseling, meditation, or exercise may help. If your bruxism is caused by a dental problem, such as a misaligned bite, see a dentist or orthodontist to correct the problem.
- Wear a mouthguard: A mouthguard or splint is a custom-fitted dental appliance that is worn over the teeth to protect them from grinding and clenching. A dentist can fit you with a mouthguard that is comfortable to wear and does not interfere with your breathing.
- Practice good sleep habits: If you grind your teeth at night, try to establish good sleep habits. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bedtime, and establish a regular sleep schedule.
- Reduce stress: Stress is a major contributor to bruxism. Finding ways to reduce stress can help alleviate the symptoms. Consider stress-reducing activities such as exercise, meditation, or yoga.
- Get treatment for sleep disorders: If you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, getting treatment for the disorder may help reduce your bruxism.
If you suspect that you have bruxism, it is important to seek treatment from a dentist or other healthcare professional. Treatment can help prevent serious dental problems and alleviate pain and discomfort associated with the condition. By identifying the cause of your bruxism and taking steps to manage the condition, you can stop the grind and protect your dental health.
Please contact our friendly team on (07) 5230 8059 for further information or advice.