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Bruxism – grinding, clenching and what you can do

By June 28, 2019 No Comments
Teeth Grinding

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is the grinding, clenching, or gnashing of teeth. You may notice someone grinding their teeth while sleeping, or clenching your jaw when you are stressed or tense.

Why do people grind their teeth?

Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism) can occur during the daytime or night-time.

Exact causes can be difficult to pin down, but can include:

– Stress
– Age (bruxism is more common in children)
– Medications and other substances
– Medical conditions

Everyone who grinds their teeth, grinds for a different reason. It’s important to see your dentist for a full assessment of your teeth and the likely causes of grinding. Sometimes management of grinding involves specialist treatment, particularly when present with other conditions (see below).

What can happen if I grind my teeth?

People generally grind their teeth to different degrees. Some may grind a lot, wearing away their tooth structure and having many symptoms, while others may grind occasionally, not causing any significant issues. Dentally, grinding or clenching can wear away the surfaces of the teeth, causing tooth structure to be lost. Grinding places high forces on the teeth, which can increase the likelihood of teeth, fillings, and crowns chipping or cracking.

What treatments are available for people who grind their teeth?

Treatment of depends on the cause, whether it occurs during the day or at night, and if there are other conditions present (see below).

Broadly speaking, treatment can include:

– Wearing a “mouthguard” (occlusal splint) at night
– Being conscious of daytime clenching/grinding and taking steps to reduce it
– Restoring worn teeth with fillings, caps, or crowns
– Managing stress and anxiety

Are there other conditions associated with bruxism?

Bruxism can be associated with:

– Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
– Headaches
– Jaw pain
– Temporo-mandibular disorder (TMD)
– Epilepsy
– Parkinson’s disease

Bruxism can present by itself, or with one or more of the above conditions. These are not necessary causing or being caused by bruxism, but should be identified as they can impact the best type of treatment, and if other health professionals, in addition to a dentist, should be involved in managing them.

Do children grind their teeth?

Yes, in fact a higher percentage of children grind their teeth than adults do! Some people will stop grinding as they progress into adulthood, while others may still grind.

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