If you have made a few extra trips to the dentist in recent times, you wouldn’t be the only one. In the last year, there has been a reported increase in visits to the dentist across the nation with cases of broken fillings and cracked teeth. The culprit? Teeth grinding.
What is Bruxism and what causes it?
Also known as bruxism, is when you clench or grind your teeth subconsciously while awake or in your sleep. Experts have mentioned that they have seen a 40% increase in cracked teeth as a result of tooth grinding.
There are two types of bruxism: sleep and awake. Sleep bruxism involves grinding teeth in your sleep and is caused by a number of factors including sleep apnoea, smoking, alcohol, with stress and anxiety playing a role.
Grinding teeth in the daytime is typically triggered by stress or anxiety, like when you’re trying to meet deadlines for a project, and you may not even realise it. So how do you know if you’re grinding your teeth?
Signs and symptoms of bruxism
- Headaches, jaw joint and/or ear pain
- Aching teeth, particularly when waking up
- Aching or stiffness of jaw and face muscles after waking up
- Aching or stiffness in the jaw when eating or chewing, particularly during breakfast
- Clenching the jaw when angry, anxious or concentrating
- Sensitive teeth to hot and cold temperatures
- Cracked teeth or enamel
How to stop grinding your teeth with 4 bruxism treatments and management tips
The good news is that you don’t need open heart surgery to treat and manage teeth bruxism. Here are some simple and effective ways to treat bruxism and manage teeth grinding.
Use a mouth guard or night splint
Bruxism splints or mouth guards for teeth grinding help provide cushioning for your teeth and prevent them from grinding against each other. They can either be purchased over the counter or custom-made by your dentist.
Custom-made mouthguards are made to fit and sit comfortably and snug in your mouth. They help to protect your teeth from damage and help to reduce the amount of strain put on your jaw.
OTC mouthguards are typically made from plastic and may not be as effective when treating severe cases of bruxism, but their low cost make them a viable option for those with minor bruxism. In any case, always consult your dentist on which option is better for you.
Manage stress and anxiety
For some people, the underlying cause for teeth grinding may be linked to stress, depression or anxiety. There are a number of easy stress-reduction techniques which may help reduce teeth grinding and improve your overall health. This can include:
- Listening to music
- Breathing exercises
- Regular exercise
- Stress management therapy
- Practicing good sleeping habits
- Regular dental checkups
Get a massage
This is the perfect time to treat yourself to a massage. A head and neck massage can help relieve muscle tension and pain associated with teeth grinding. There are also many tips and techniques you can use at home to relax your muscles.
Get regular dental checkups
One of the easiest ways to treat and manage bruxism is to simply book in to see your dentist. Regular dental check-ups help identify any issues caused by your teeth grinding so that it can be treated as soon as possible and prevent further damage.
When to see your dentist
If you suspect or know that you grind your teeth, it’s best to see your dentist. Ignoring teeth grinding can lead to more serious issues, such as cracked teeth, and in more serious cases, loss of teeth. Your dentist will be able to examine your teeth for any signs of wear and provide a simple solution. Bruxism treatments may involve a simple dental procedure, such as getting inlays/onlays or a crown to fix your bite, or a night splint to help reduce damage and manage the pain.
When was the last time you saw your dentist? Schedule an appointment today with our friendly dentist.