Teeth grinding / Jaw clenching
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching, medically called bruxism, is a very common problem, but there are a number of ways of preventing this phenomenom. Below we will describe the most common causes, consequencies and remedies.
Causes for teeth grinding
The most common causes for teeth grinding or jaw clenching are stress/anxiety related, sleeping disorders, for instance sleep apnea, or an unstable bite (occlusion).
An unstable bite or occlusion are often due to missing or crooked teeth. The occlusion is formed during childhood by the change of the teeth, the muscles, tongue and habits. In most cases the bite will be fine, however, for some it can turn into an unstable bite with teeth grinding as a result, although the affected person can be unaware of this. The grinding often takes place during sleep, when the partner will hear it and inform the person. Symptoms to be discovered by the affected person is otherwise a sore jaw or a dull headache in the morning.
Another reason for an unstable bite could be fillings or crowns, where the effect on the bite has not been considered fully. The dentist need to make sure that any change in the occlusion resulting from any treatment, should not interfere with the bite.
At TandCity we take care that the interrelation of bite, jaw, muscles and joints is considered at all times.
Therefore we always inform of the consequencies of an instable bite:
The lower jaw will slide to the side when biting together. The joints will change position and the muscles will in turn compensate for the changed position to stabilize and prevent damaged joints. If this is done everyday, it will lead to an excessive wear of the teeth, pain in the muscles and a headache. Sometimes, bruxism can cause disorders in the joints, creating pain, “clicking” sounds and difficulty to move the jaw.
Consequencies when untreated
Bruxism, when not treated, may lead to loose, fractured or lost teeth.
If too much of the tooth is lost, it may be necessary not only to do a root canal treatment, but also to make crowns, bridges or implants.
The joints and muscles, as described above, may be negatively affected, with pain, joint disorders and headache as a result.
What is needed to prevent the grinding?
You need to book an appointment with your dentist, for a thorough review of your teeth and jaw and a suggestion of the best treatment for you.
If bruxism is diagnosed, a first suggestion for treatment may be a night guard/mouth gard (sometimes also called mouth splint). It is worn either in the upper or lower jaw.
Impressions of the teeth and a special bite registration are made, for the dentist to adapt the mouth splint to your need, to stabilize the bite.
With the best individual guides created by the dental technician in combination with the best individual work of polishing/ceramic or composite build up made by the dentist, a permanent stable bite can be accomplished.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to call or mail us. We are here for you.