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Have you ever woken up in the morning and found that your jaw hurts or you’ve developed a chalky taste in your mouth? It’s possible that you’re grinding your teeth at night. The technical terms for teeth grinding is Bruxism and can occur subconsciously whilst you sleep but also whilst you’re awake.
During the day, it’s common for a person to be performing a task and clenching their teeth together, applying force that contracts the muscles in the jaw. Clenching basically pushes lots of power onto to your teeth, but there’s no side to side movement, and it can be just as destructive as grinding. During the daytime, clenching can be associated with tasks such as heavy lifting and driving. Whilst you sleep, the contractions can also contract rhythmically.
Does this sound familiar to you? There are noticeable symptoms if you suffer from Bruxism with the most common symptom being headaches. If you’re grinding or clenching your teeth at night, you’re likely to suffer from headaches three times as much.
Other noticeable symptoms of Bruxism include pain in the face, temporomandibular joint discomfort, stiffness in your neck and in the shoulders, pain in your ear and common sleeping disorders. If the teeth grinding happens regularly, your teeth will show wear and tear which over time, and could lead to a fracture in the jaw or a loss of teeth.
There are several causes for grinding or even clenching your teeth at night. If you’re looking to treat this it’s first important to understand what the cause of it is. Your dentist can help to evaluate this and then provide you with a plan. These treatments tend to be one of the following:
An occlusal appliance is considered the best method of treating teeth grinding at night. It takes up many different forms including a splint, night guard, bruxism appliance or a plate. Whatever the appliance, your dentist will have these custom made for your own mouth and fitted for the top and bottom of the mouth.
Wearing one of these appliances will be beneficial for the health of your teeth. They can protect your teeth and reduce the jaw pain that you’re experiencing. The appliances are to be worn during the night whilst you sleep.
Mandibular advancement devices are another form of appliance that can be used to help this issue. They are also custom-made devices to be fitted on the top and bottom of your mouth and are more commonly suggested due to a sleeping disorder which causes the grinding. The purpose of the device is to bring the bottom of your jaw (mandibular) forward. This helps to overcome such sleeping disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea.
In other cases, the cause of the grinding can be due to feelings of stress or anxiety. In which case, behavioural management may be the way forward as a solution. Relaxation techniques such medication can help the management of stress.
In unique cases, you may need to perform relaxation techniques and obtain an occlusal appliance to help overcome the issue of teeth grinding at night.
To help your issue with teeth grinding at night will require an examination with your dentist or an oral surgeon. After the examination, a plan for treatment can be provided, including the best possible advice to help overcome the issue. Dental Solutions offers a free initial consultation with our Principal Dentist, Gavin Laidlaw who will prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your clenching or grinding. Call our Reception team on 01925 756565 or book an online appointment with Gavin.