Bruxism is the medical term for clenching or grinding you teeth. It’s incredibly common and can affect anyone, causing a wide range of problems even beyond your teeth and jaw joint, such as headaches and neck pain. But luckily it’s very easily treated!
Clenching or grinding your teeth can lead to issues such as tooth wear. A telltale sign is teeth becoming flatter, smaller and darker as the enamel is worn down, revealing the yellowish dentine underneath. Over time, due to the extra stress on the teeth, it can increase the likelihood of teeth cracking and breaking, and reduces the lifespan of dental restorations such as crowns and fillings. It can also cause problems with the jaw joint and muscles, such as pain, clicking or a crunching sound when opening or closing the mouth. In some cases the jaw can even ‘lock’ or go into spasm due to a long period of stress on the joint.
Some people clench and grind their teeth while awake, however 80% of the time it occurs subconsciously during sleep. It’s usually associated with contributing factors, such as stress or anxiety. While asleep you will clench and grind your teeth with more force than you would whilst awake, and will do so for longer, as when you’re asleep you can’t stop yourself! Many patients do not realise if they grind their teeth at night, and come to see us complaining of worn down teeth, jaw pain, clicking or crunching, and teeth that break easily despite an excellent oral care routine. It can be a worrying to hear about the damage you are doing through bruxism without even realising, but there is a solution.
At Butterfly Dental Care, we offer treatment to treat bruxism, called a splint, which will help to break your clenching and grinding habit. This is a plastic guard you wear over your teeth at night, which evens out the pressure across your jaw, relaxing and providing relief to the joint and muscles, and creates a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth to protect them from further damage. They can also reduce any grinding noises you make at night. If you’ve noticed any symptoms of clenching or grinding your teeth, give us a call today and see how we can help you!