What Is Teeth Grinding?
Chronic teeth grinding will result in you ruining your smile and making your teeth shorter, as well as disturbances in your sleep.
Teeth grinding, or Bruxism as it’s referred to medically, is classified as excessive grinding of your teeth. Many actions cause us to clench our teeth during the course of the day, but, when this grinding becomes a chronic condition it starts to present a significant risk to our oral health. Bruxism does occur during waking hours but is more commonly an involuntary condition that takes place during sleep. Like all medical conditions, teeth grinding is different for all of us. Symptoms of Bruxisms can vary greatly and treatments will depend on the level of severity and nature of the condition.
Common Causes of Teeth Grinding
A significant cause for teeth grinding during the day is often stress. Pressures from our personal and work life can cause anxiety, anger and a range of other emotions that we find it difficult to deal with. Physical coping mechanisms can manifest from very early stages in our life, such as a tightly clenched jaw and grinding motion of our teeth. Stress is the enemy of oral health.
Abnormality In Bite or Teeth
Grinding during the night can also be caused by abnormalities in your bite or teeth, such as missing or crooked teeth. These gaps or misalignments cause our teeth to meet each other at uncomfortable and unnatural angles, increasing the risk of grinding as well as cracking, chipping and many other issues.
Sleep Disorder (Sleep Apnea)
Conditions that are mostly subconscious like Bruxism can be hard for us to identify personally. They become such an ingrained part of us that we don’t even notice. You may even find yourself with a clenched jaw while reading this right now. If you’re not sure if you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep – your partner might be. People who share a bed are sometimes able to hear the unpleasant gnashing sound of teeth grinding occurring at night. Teeth grinding at night has been linked to sleeping disorders like sleep apnea. With research still going on, some scientists hypothesise that the two can trigger each other.
Certain medications can contribute to the risk of teeth grinding. These include drugs like antipsychotics and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. If you’re not sure whether your medication is causing your teeth grinding, contact your doctor or dentist today.
Symptoms can include:
- Jaw pain as soon soon as you wake up that can continue throughout the day
- Neck pain
- Pain or discomfort that radiates all the way down to your shoulders
- Earache or hearing impairment
- Poor quality of sleep
- A stiff jaw when waking up
Risk Factors Associated with Teeth Grinding
There are many risks associated with teeth grinding. Without professional dental intervention that condition is likely to only worsen. Risks include:
- High pressure on your teeth causing cracks, chips or breaks
- Suffering regular headaches
- Experiencing ongoing jaw pain and facial swelling
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Also called TMD, this condition is associated with bruxism. It results in pain and dysfunction around the jaw and facial muscles in this vicinity.
The Effects of Teeth Grinding On You
Chronic teeth grinding will result in you ruining your smile and making your teeth shorter, as well as disturbances in your sleep. These are inevitable consequences of the condition left untreated. The constant pressure and gnashing reduces enamel and tooth material which can increase your sensitivity to hot and cold foods. Teeth grinding can also damage pre-existing fillings, crowns or any other dental work that may have been costly and time consuming. Risking having to endure these processes all over again.
Pandemic Related Stress Causing An Increase In Teeth Grinding
A major cause for Bruxism, as stated above, can be stress. With global events like pandemics and conflicts going on, there’s a level of uncertainty around that causes many people a high level of anxiety. Even if you think you are not being affected, conditions like high-stress can manifest themselves in your subconscious and present in the form of problems like chronic teeth grinding. President of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Dental Association Jeremy Sternson has claimed that 2021 saw an increase in tooth cracks by almost three or four times. Proving that external pressures like the pandemic have a notable effect on our teeth.
How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth
Bruxism treatments will range depending on the individual. Treating the individual symptoms is often the easiest solution.
Relaxation techniques can be a useful way to combat lifestyle related stress. Making a conscious effort to unclench your jaw whenever you notice you are doing it is an easy way to start out. Simply being aware of this behaviour and making these small changes can help a great deal with ingrained behaviour. There are also other physiological exercises and treatments available for individuals who grind on a more constant basis. Practising these and learning to do them at critical times can become a useful tool at your disposal. A qualified dental professional will provide you with more guidance about what might work best for you.
Abnormality In Bite or Teeth
There are a variety of dental solutions available for correcting issues like this. Innovative Dental offers dental implants, dental bridges, corrective braces and Invisalign as just a few options. Your dentist will assess exactly what the best course of action for your misalignment or missing teeth is.
Sleep Disorder (Sleep Apnea)
Sleep grinding can be reduced by reducing stimulation before sleep. Creating a stress free environment aided by other sensory-soothing techniques like special scents and sounds can help to give you a more relaxing atmosphere.
Changing your medications can help if they are pinpointed as the cause of your bruxism. There are also specific medications available that will assist with grinding. Talk to your doctor or dentist about the options available to you.
A mouthguard is perhaps the simplest and most effective form of treatment. Getting a personally fitted mouth guard to wear at night will give you a cushion for your teeth. The level of comfort while wearing this apparatus can vary, but most deep sleepers find it quite easy to adjust to. All the benefits well outweigh any discomfort as wearing a night guard is a proven method to help with the effects of teeth grinding. Botox and dermal fillers can also be used as a form of treatment, blocking the signals in your cheek that clench the jaw. Forcing you to relax your mouth and avoiding the motion of grinding altogether.
Do Children Grind Their Teeth?
Yes. This isn’t a problem that just affects adults. It’s estimated almost one in three children grind their teeth in their sleep. This usually forms as a habit during the process of a child’s first and second sets of teeth growing in. Most children will usually grow out of the habit after this period. Just like adults, stress reduction and good oral hygiene can be helpful in reducing teeth grinding. If you’re unsure whether your child is a grinder or not, book in to your dentist for a comprehensive exam and to talk about the best course of action.
Innovative Dental Has The Solution For Teeth Grinding
Innovative Dental has the experience and expertise to help you with your chronic teeth grinding. Make an appointment with us to go over a personalised treatment plan that will be tailored to your needs. We provide night guards, full oral inspections and any other treatments you require to help with your pain and discomfort. Call Innovative Dental Moonee Ponds at (03) 9346 8333 or make your booking online today!