Bruxism – Teeth Grinding

Post by: Gerarda on 03 Jul 2019

The effects of grinding teeth for many years

Ever wake up with a headache and it wasn´t from overindulging the previous night?

Do you ever experience any of these other symptoms?
• Migraines
• Tinnitus
• Painful facial muscles or jaw joints – TMJ
• Clicking, popping or grating sounds in your jaw
• Painful neck or shoulders
• Earache or a toothache or had many teeth hurting
• Broken or worn teeth

If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may suffer from a condition called, bruxism.

What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the habit of clenching or grinding ones teeth. This happens in the early part of the night when you are deep asleep. Sometimes it can be loud enough to wake up someone sleeping next to you. With some people they make no sound at all, and it is not until a dentist discovers wear on patient´s teeth that they know they are doing it at all.

What are the signs of bruxism?
Teeth that show signs of wear is one of the most obvious signs of bruxism. The force of the grinding can cause the teeth to break or fracture or even become shorter. It can damage dental restorations or cause veneers to pop off and teeth to become loose, as if the tooth is becoming “extracted”. Prolonged grinding can wear through the layer of dentin and cause teeth to become sensitive to cold and hot.

With lower front teeth you can sometimes see that the teeth have a sharp angle like a ski hill or they become irregular and chipped. The upper front teeth can come to be very thin. The molars or the big teeth can become flat and shiny and have the appearance of a skating rink. As you can tell, excessive grinding takes a toll on teeth.

What causes bruxism?
The causes of bruxism are not conclusive as many factors may be involved. One consistent theme that seems apparent though is that stress plays a big factor. In addition, an unbalanced bite, crooked or missing teeth may also be contributing factors. An unbalanced bite or a bite that feels like teeth are “high” can quickly become a TMJ issue. Furthermore if you don´t have back teeth, then the load is distributed on the front teeth only causing excessive wear on them.

What to do if you suffer from bruxism?
Consult your dentist to find the best solution for you. It could be a night guard that is worn while you sleep that prevents teeth coming into contact if you grind excessively and therefore, relieves some of the pressure of grinding and clenching. You will still grind and clench your teeth, but you will not be wearing away your teeth as you will be biting on the night guard instead.

Night guard

If you have broken teeth or have worn them excessively, they may need reshaping, rebuilding or possibly crowns.

Maybe you need to find ways to relax in your daily routine. It could be time to sit and read that book you have wanted to start, or to listen to your favorite tunes in peace and quiet. A nice warm bath at the end of a day is also a great stress reliever. What is your personal stress reliever? Remember what it is and try to make more time for it.

As continued grinding and clenching wear away the teeth, you might like to think about what is causing it in your own life. Whatever your answer, it is wise to see your dentist to discuss it and see what you can do about it.

Categories: Bruxism,Dental health,Dental Information
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Posted on Wednesday 3rd July 2019 at 8:52 am

Do you Grind your Teeth?

Post by: Gerarda on 28 May 2013

The damage that you cause when you grind your teeth can be devastating. Sadly, most people do not even know that they are grinding their teeth. Unless a partner happens to be awake and hear what is going on, grinders never really notice until they are in pain or they see that their teeth have become shorter or they are chipped. The force that is applied when you grind your teeth is normally quite high.  At times the load is such that you wake up from pain in the teeth and/or chewing muscles. This tremendous pressure applied to the teeth is also applied to the supporting bone around the teeth and the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ). Therefore, you can have a feeling that not just one tooth hurts, but many.

Cranio-mandibular dysfunction is a term which describes a group of symptoms which result when the teeth, chewing muscles or jaw-joints (TMJ) do not work together correctly.

Some of the possible symptoms from cranio-mandibular dysfunction:

  • Clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • Headaches especially when waking up in the morning
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Ear ache
  • Neck pain
  • Clicking of the jaw-joints
  • Pain in or around the jaw-joints
  • Sensitivity in teeth and sore teeth when chewing

In many cases it is stress combined with poor contacts between the upper & the lower teeth which cause people to grind their teeth; however, there are other considerations, such as:

Health – Do you have arthritis, or did you sustain an injury to the jaw?

Psychological – Are you fearful, angry, tense or anxious?

Physical – Are your upper and lower teeth aligned?

Sometimes pains and aches associated with TMJ problems can be reduced with isometric exercises.

The consequences though need to be treated by adjusting the occlusion, the contacts between the upper and lower teeth. To prevent problems in the future, and to reduce further wear of your teeth, you may need a night guard to avoid direct contact between the upper and lower teeth. A very important effect of the night guard is that it relaxes the chewing muscles thereby, giving you relief from your symptoms.