Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, does not always cause symptoms but some people may suffer from headaches or, pain and it can wear down the teeth. Most people who clench and grind their teeth do this when they are under stress, anxiety or when they are asleep.
Symptoms of teeth grinding
- Facial pain
- Stiffness and pain in the jaw joint and other muscles
- Disrupted sleep
- Broken fillings or teeth
- Worn down teeth
Causes of teeth grinding
- Anxiety and stress – This usually occurs due to stress or anxiety and often happens while you sleep.
- Medication – Teeth grinding is linked to a kind of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or (SSRI).
- Sleep disorders – If you have sleep disorder or you snore, then you will probably grind your teeth while sleeping.
- Lifestyle – Other factors that cause teeth grinding are smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs like cocaine and ecstasy or drinks like tea and coffee taken in excess.
How to treat teeth grinding
There are various treatments for teeth grinding in Croydon. A mouth splint or mouth guard can be used to lessen the sensation of teeth grinding or clenching. They help in lessening the pain, avoiding tooth decay and other oral damage. Other treatments are sleep hygiene and muscle-relaxation exercises. If you are having anxiety or stress, then cognitive behavioural therapy may also be suggested in addition to a mouth guard.
How you can stop grinding your teeth
Your dentist will use a mouth guard to protect teeth from grinding during sleep. If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your dentist about suitable options to lessen stress. You may begin an exercise program, attend stress counselling, see a therapist and get a medical prescription for muscle relaxants to overcome stress.
Other tips to consider include:
- Reduce the intake of foods and drinks that have caffeine in them such as coffee, colas and chocolate.
- Teeth grinding often increases after you drink alcohol.
- Do not chew on pens or pencils and avoid chewing gum as this encourages the jaw muscles to get used to the motion of teeth grinding and clenching.
- If you clench or grind your teeth during the day, make sure you position the tip of the tongue between your teeth. This will make the jaw muscles relax.
- Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against the cheeks just in front of earlobes.
- Using a combination of anti-inflammatory pain relief such as ibuprofen and eating a soft diet for 2 weeks, during flare ups to allow the facial muscles and joints to relax
Teeth grinding can be harmful:
In some cases, severe teeth grinding may lead to loss of teeth, loose or fractured teeth. Grinding may even wear the teeth down to stumps. In such situations, you may need to have crowns, bridges, implants, root canal treatment, partial dentures, or even complete dentures.
Do you have damaged or sensitive teeth?
Talk to your dentist to check if you have any signs of teeth grinding!