People who do not clench or grind their teeth, only touch about 3 minutes the entire day. Lips touch, but teeth are slightly apart just about all the time. People who clench and grind their teeth are in contact up to 8 or more hours a day.
Habitual touching of teeth, even lightly, is magnified during stressful times. The head and neck is a major area of carrying stress. The muscles around the temples and the jaw carry the extra energy which can only be released by clenching and grinding.
Bruxism or teeth grinding refers to the involuntary clenching or gnashing of the teeth. It is a common occurrence, with approximately half the population experiencing it occasionally. Roughly 5% of individuals are habitual, using forceful tooth grinding. Bruxism can occur during sleep, but some people exhibit this behaviour while awake.
Most people who clench and grind are unaware they’re doing so, because often it can be painless and symptom free. Also grinding happens more at night while you are sleeping. Protecting teeth is one of the most valuable service that our dentist can provide, come see us at our clinic Bay Dental Group – within close proximity of neighbouring suburb, South Melbourne & St Kilda.
Reducing stress and protecting teeth is one of the most valuable services that your dentist can provide. One of the best solutions is the fabrication of a well-constructed dental occlusal splint.
These factors can heighten the risk of bruxism:
Bruxism doesn’t cause serious complications. But may lead to:
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can also affect children, and parents may notice their kids grinding their teeth, especially during sleep. Children’s teeth and jaws undergo rapid changes, and they may naturally outgrow bruxism as they lose their baby teeth. However, some children may continue to grind their teeth into their teenage years. Regardless of age, teeth grinding in children can lead to various issues, like headaches, jaw pain, TMJ disorders, and wear and tear of teeth, just like in adults.
Unlike adults, stress is not typically the main cause of bruxism in children. Instead, teeth grinding in children may be attributed to various factors, such as allergies, misaligned teeth, mouth irritation, obstructive sleep apnoea, or heredity.
If you observe signs of bruxism in your child, such as worn teeth or hear grinding sounds, it’s essential to consult our dentist. We will assess the situation and recommend appropriate treatments. Sometimes, a night guard may be suggested to protect the teeth from grinding, providing relief until the child outgrows the habit. If stress appears to be a contributing factor, stress relief strategies may be recommended to address the root causes of bruxism in children.
If you suspect that you may be grinding your teeth, it is advisable to consult your dentist. They are well-equipped to evaluate and diagnose bruxism. During a dental examination:
Dentists will closely inspect your teeth for any physical signs of bruxism, such as worn or chipped tooth surfaces.
They will examine the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) for tenderness, pain, or any indications of stress or dysfunction.
Dentists will inquire about your symptoms, including jaw pain, headaches, tooth sensitivity, or other relevant discomforts.
Medications are not typically used to stop teeth grinding. Instead, your dentist might provide a custom-made night guard, an orthotic device to be worn in your mouth before sleep. This night guard is a protective barrier, safeguarding your teeth, muscles, and TMJs from the pressure generated during grinding. In certain cases, your healthcare provider may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime as part of the treatment approach.
To prevent teeth grinding (also known as bruxism), consider these key points:
Avoid Cigarettes, Drugs, and Alcohol: Refrain from smoking cigarettes and using recreational drugs, as these substances can exacerbate teeth grinding. Limit or eliminate alcohol consumption, as it can also worsen sleep bruxism.
Regular Dental Checkups: Dentists can identify signs of teeth grinding early on and provide treatment options to prevent long-term damage. These visits allow for timely intervention and the implementation of preventive measures.
Address Dental Problems: Misaligned teeth, missing teeth, or bite problems can contribute to bruxism. Consulting with a dentist to correct these issues can reduce the likelihood of teeth grinding.