Do you often wake up with head ache or sore jaw? Do you sometimes find yourself clenching your teeth? You may be unaware of your grinding and clenching habits until you see your dentist for a check-up or for a broken tooth. Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth because they do it while they sleep. Bruxism often occurs in the early part of the night and can disturb sleep partners. The clenching and grinding may be quite audible. Others make no sound while bruxing their teeth and do not realize they are doing it until the dentist discovers unusual wear spots on their teeth. Bruxism may be mild and occasional or aggressive and frequent. Effects of Bruxism Bruxism affects sufferers in many ways. Some of the adverse effects are short-term and disappear when the bruxism ceases. Others sadly, are long-term or even permanent.
1. Short-term effects of bruxism • Headache – Bruxism sufferers are three times more likely to suffer from
- Facial myalgia (aching jaw & facial muscles)
- Ear ache
- Tightness/stiffness of the shoulders
- Limitation of mouth opening
- Sleep disruption
- Sleep disruption of bed partner due to noise
- Excess tooth mobility
- Inflamed & receding gums
2. Long-term effects of bruxism
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (sometimes called TMJD or just TMJ)
- Tooth wear & breakage
People who grind or clench their teeth may wake with a headache, earache or toothache. Their facial muscles may be sore and the jaw joints tender. Besides causing discomfort, grinding can eventually damage dental restorations and may loosen teeth. Bruxism also can cause damage to the temporomandibular joints. These are the joints on each side of the mouth that connect the lower -jaw to the skull. The pressure from clenching and grinding can cause cracks or fractures in the teeth. As the tooth enamel is worn away, the underlying layer of dentin may be exposed. This causes the tooth to become sensitive to temperature changes and pressure.
Bruxism can develop at any age. Pain or discomfort from colds, ear infections, allergies and other ailments may cause children to grind their teeth. Although the causes of bruxism are not really known, several factors may be involved. Stressful situations, problems in sleeping, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth may contribute. Regular dental check-ups are important to detect damage in the early stages.
We can diagnose and treat irregular wear on teeth and determine the source of facial pain that may result from bruxism. Based on the diagnosis, one or more treatments may be recommended. We may suggest a night guard that can be worn while sleeping. Custom-made by the dentist from soft material to ﬁt your teeth, the night guard slips over the teeth in one jaw and prevent contact with the opposing teeth. The night guard relieves some of the pressure of grinding and clenching. We will always give you an estimate before starting to make one for you. The prices start from £100.When you consider the cost of expensive dental work and the risk of breaking teeth, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Remember, the costume made ones are the safest options.
If stress seems to be a major cause of bruxism, it may be helpful to ﬁnd ways to relax, such as listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or enjoying a warm bath. Applying a warm, wet towel to the side of the face may help relax muscles that have become sore from clenching. If you have difficulty handling stress, counselling may point to effective ways of dealing with stressful situations. An abnormal bite, one in which teeth do not ﬁt well together, may lead to grinding. Treatment may involve reducing the “high spots” on one or more teeth. For serious cases, your dentist may suggest reshaping or reconstructing the biting surfaces with inlays or crowns. Grinding is a common occurrence for many people at some time or another.