Grinding Or Clenching Your Teeth? | Face Value Dental

Grinding Or Clenching Your Teeth?

Grinding of your teeth can lead to wear and may even cause permanent damage to your teeth. This often occurs at night when you have no conscious control over the grinding. Treatment is aimed at either removing the cause of the grinding or to minimise the damage by making a customised splint to protect the teeth.

Indicative Fee: $450 – $500 (splint)*
*Prices are subject to change

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is a medical term that refers to the grinding and clenching of teeth that normally occurs at night when one is asleep. It is known as one of the most common yet under-diagnosed sleep disorders. Many bruxers are not aware of their problem unless made known to them by a sleeping partner. Since many people do not realise they have the habit, the effects are usually rather advanced when discovered.

Although not considered a dangerous condition, bruxism can still cause many problems. Bruxers may end up with badly damaged teeth or experience pains and headaches. In extreme cases, excessive clenching and grinding may cause the jaw to move out of alignment or even wear down the teeth to their stumps. They may also bring about other dental conditions like decays, fractures, tooth loss or sensitivity.

Treatment may involve wearing a mouth guard or splint during sleep to prevent the upper and lower sets of teeth from making contact.

What causes teeth grinding and clenching during sleep?

Contrary to popular belief, teeth clenching or grinding in sleep is not a reflex action. Researchers have found that it is actually a habitual behaviour that develops over time at a subconscious level. While the causes of bruxism are yet to be fully established – since there could be a plethora of them – the best known reasons include digestive disorders, anxiety and stress. Other stress-inducing causes include frustration, anger and lack of sleep.

The nocturnal behaviour may also occur as the result of an abnormal bite, crooked or missing teeth. Substances linked to teeth grinding include prescription drugs, alcohol and coffee. Childhood bruxism may be traced to nutritional deficiencies, allergies and disorders.

Since many of the underlying conditions remain unknown, most of the treatments are not aimed at solving the root cause but rather at minimising the effects of the condition.

Common symptoms of sleep bruxism

The effects of sleep bruxism can be rather unpleasant and mostly felt around the facial areas. Most people discover their bruxism at an advanced stage because the related symptoms are not immediately apparent or easily traced. For example, it could take many months, even years, before a bruxer realises that a tooth had been worn out by excessive grinding. Symptoms of bruxism are frequently misdiagnosed because they also suggest other underlying dental or health problems.

Some common tell tale signs that point to teeth grinding and clenching are:

  • TMJ Disorder
  • Deep recesses on your tongue
  • Eroded teeth enamel
  • Tips of the teeth look flat
  • Ear aches
  • Jaw pains
  • Difficulty in chewing of food
  • Tenderness around cheek tissues

Benefits of dental mouth guards and splints

Specialty mouthguards and splints worn during sleep can relieve discomfort, pain and wear caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Over time, the corrective therapeutic appliance conditions the body to stop the nocturnal habits.

The full upper mouth guard/splint is one of the most popular types of dental mouth guards used for bruxism therapy. Constructed of a specialty material, the device can be customised to your mouth's exact specifications by our dentist.

The mouth guard can either be fashioned to fit over all of the upper teeth – the most commonly used technique – or the lower set of teeth. Known as a bite plate, the full upper mouth guard allows the jaw to settle in a more comfortable position during sleep. This helps to eliminate the body’s unconscious desire to clench the jaw or grind the teeth.

The procedure for getting a night guard or splint done at the dentist’s office is rather straightforward. It typically involves taking an impression of your teeth and bite registration with a special soft material so that the dentist can customise the mouth guard according to the specific measurements of your mouth. The device is then made in a professional laboratory based on your dentist’s instructions.

The dentist-administered mouth guard offers the best protection and comfort. All our mouth guards and splints are made to professional Australian standards. They are easy to clean, durable, comfortable as well as highly resistant to wear and tear. Our custom-fitted dental devices will in no way restrict your speech or breathing.

Treatment with our mouth guards and splints has the following benefits:

  • Conditions the patient to drop the habit
  • Reduces the grinding pressure transferred to the teeth
  • Prevents the wearing of the teeth’s biting surfaces
  • Prevents enamel erosion that can result in exposure of soft dentine
  • Lowers risks of bruxism-related tooth decay, tooth fracture and gum recession
  • Minimises the grinding noise associated with the sleep disorder
  • Guards against structural problems with the jaw and teeth due to the excessive grinding
  • Prevents TMJ Disorders
  • Prevents pain and discomfort associated with sleep bruxism

Do your teeth and jaws ache in the morning? Do you experience pain in your jaw joints? If so, you may be grinding and clenching your teeth during your sleep – and suffer from a sleep disorder known as Bruxism.

Face Value Dental offers specialty night guards and splints that can effectively minimise the symptoms while correcting the problem. Contact us at (07) 3221 0677 for more information.

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