Clenching or grinding is an unconscious habit that tends to take place during sleep. As a consequence, many people are unaware they do this until they develop dental problems or are told they make a noise during sleep. The correct term for clenching and grinding is for bruxism, and it can cause a lot of damage to teeth, gums and to the jaw joints (temporomandibular joints) responsible for moving the lower jaw. Symptoms may include increased tooth sensitivity due to teeth becoming worn or chipped, and it’s not unusual for sufferers to wake up with a sore jaw or persistent headache. If you think you may have bruxism it’s important to get a proper diagnosis as soon as you can to help minimise the damage.
Nobody is quite sure what causes bruxism, but it can sometimes be related to stress. Luckily treatment is usually quite straightforward and non-invasive and focuses on preventing your teeth from coming into contact so you can no longer clench and grind. We can provide you with a custom-made splint or nightguard to treat this condition.
A splint or nightguard is usually made from a thermoplastic material, and fits comfortably over your upper teeth, putting your jaw into a position where it is more relaxed. Some people may only need to wear their nightguard for a short while to help break the habit, but others could need to wear in the longer term. If you think you might be suffering from stress, then it can be helpful to try to reduce these levels.