Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a very common occurrence. While most individuals do not experience immediate issues, bruxism can gradually have adverse effects over time.
Grinding of the teeth and grating the teeth between each other with backward and forward movements, creates severe wear. Wear is usually not so evident when clenching the teeth together hard without moving them, however, the teeth can show fissures which means small lines and the breakdown of enamel. Fractures of teeth and prostheses, loss of fillings, and decementation of crowns and bridges can also occur.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
- 5Stress and anxiety: Higher levels of stress and anxiety can lead to excessive teeth grinding and clenching.
- 5Age: Bruxism is commonly observed in young children but tends to diminish with age.
- 5Alcohol consumption: Disrupts sleep patterns and can stimulate hyperactive muscle movement in the jaw. Dehydration from excessive drinking may also contribute to bruxism.
- 5Smoking: Nicotine, as a stimulant, can over stimulate jaw muscles and contribute to teeth grinding or clenching.
- 5Snoring: Restricted airflow during snoring can elevate stress levels and lead to jaw tightening.
- 5Caffeine consumption: The stimulant properties of caffeine can increase muscle activity, potentially promoting jaw clenching.
- 5Recreational drugs: Amphetamines and cocaine can excessively stimulate muscles, increasing the likelihood of bruxism.
- 5Medications: Antidepressants, which act as stimulants, may cause bruxism.
- 5Genetic factors: Sleep bruxism may have a hereditary component and be passed down within families.
- 5Occlusal bite disorders: Teeth misalignment can heighten the risk of bruxism.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
- 5Abnormal tooth wear, which leads to shorter teeth, occurs when the outer layers of enamel gradually erode, revealing the dentin beneath. This can cause tooth sensitivity.
- 5Damaged teeth and broken dental fillings may result from bruxism.
- 5Inflammation of the gums can occur due to the effects of teeth grinding.
- 5Pain and stiffness in the jaw can make it uncomfortable or painful to fully open the mouth, particularly in the morning.
- 5Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles are a common symptom.
- 5Waking up with a dull headache in the morning is a possible consequence of bruxism.
- 5Unexplained facial pain, known as facial myalgia, can occur.
- 5Earaches may be experienced as a result of teeth grinding.
- 5Bruxism can disrupt sleep, affecting you and your partner.
We make a custom, hard plastic guard to protect your teeth. This is an extremely skilled procedure because a new occlusion (bite) is created that is more stable than your own. This is worn at night, which is when most of the damage occurs. It avoids wear and damage to the teeth, because it prevents the teeth from coming in contact, allowing just contact between the teeth and the plastic appliance. The splint is not as hard as the teeth, therefore with time it will wear down – but the teeth will not. At the same time, it reduces the load on the supporting structures of the teeth and so will often result in immediate relief from headaches.
This treatment adjusts your bite so the teeth meet evenly. It may involve your dentist trimming away some of the surface enamel or adding material to change the shape of the teeth. Many patients report that after having veneers fitted as a measure to control grinding, their biggest change is not the aesthetics, but finding they no longer suffer from headaches because as part of the treatment we can give them a better bite. Either way, the aim is to distribute the forces evenly over all your teeth.
We use Botox to help the muscles relax. Botox has been used for many years on medical conditions where the muscles go into spasm (e.g. Cerebral Palsy). It does not change your appearance in any way but it does relax the muscles that are tense due to stress, thereby limiting the damage bruxism causes.
Schedule Your Consultation for Teeth Grinding Today!!
If you’re dealing with teeth grinding symptoms and seeking suitable treatments, it is advisable to arrange a consultation with London Smiling. During this consultation, you can explore personalized teeth grinding treatment options and take steps to safeguard your teeth against additional damage.
Call, email, or visit us at our clinic in London for consultation.