How we address your tooth grinding or clenching
Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding and clenching is a very common sleep disorder that’s thought to affect up to half of Australian adults. If left untreated, severe bruxism can cause chipped, cracked, or severely worn teeth, as well as constant headaches and pain in your jaw or neck.
Potential causes of bruxism include stress, disturbed sleep, some medications, or a misalignment in your bite (called a malocclusion).
Diagnosing and treating your bruxism
At your regular visits to Renton Dental in Paddington, your dentist will inspect your mouth for any signs of potential bruxism. In many cases, your condition may be so mild that you won’t require treatment for your teeth grinding.
But if we notice problems such as worn tooth enamel, chipped or fractured teeth, and lost or damaged dental restorations, we will suggest teeth grinding treatments for your situation. If necessary, we can also rebuild your worn down teeth with dental crowns or veneers to restore their appearance and function.
Protecting your teeth from grinding damage
To prevent further night-time grinding or clenching damage to your teeth, Renton Dental can provide you with a custom-made bite splint for you to wear while you sleep.
Resembling a sports mouthguard, but not as bulky, these night splints work by balancing your bite and spreading out the immense clenching pressure of your jaw, to create a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth arches.
Because it’s precisely designed for your mouth, a dentist-made occlusal splint (or Michigan splint) should protect your teeth from bruxism damage for years.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) and bruxism
A further condition which can either cause – or be caused by – teeth grinding is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
TMD encompasses a variety of conditions that can cause pain and tenderness in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint where your jawbone connects to your skull. When your jaw joint, teeth, and facial muscles are misaligned, TMD can result.
Thanks to the complex and extensive relationship between the muscles, ligaments and bones of your jaw, neck and head, a problem in one area can easily cause issues elsewhere – such as teeth clenching or grinding at night.
The Renton Dental team can assess your TMJ disorder and recommend the right treatment for your needs, whether that’s a dental splint, medication, or surgery in severe cases.
Treating the underlying cause of your bruxism
As well as protecting your teeth from the effects of grinding and clenching, Renton Dental will be happy to work in conjunction with other health professionals to come up with a solution for your personal situation.
For example, we may recommend that you undergo physiotherapy or remedial massage to treat your jaw joints & muscles. We can prescribe medication to help you relax while you sleep. Some other ways to address your bruxism include:
Reduce your stress
Stress is a major cause of teeth clenching, bruxism, and TMJ. Consider whether you could be experiencing tension in your life, and if there are changes you can make to help alleviate it.
Adjust your diet
A diet lacking in vitamins and minerals is thought to be a potential cause of both bruxism and TMJ. Ensure you’re eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables, and think about supplementing your diet with additional magnesium tablets.
Ensure you get enough sleep
Research shows that good sleep quality every night is very important in reducing teeth grinding. Invest in a good quality mattress, make sure your bedroom isn’t too hot or too cold, and aim for eight hours of sleep each night.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if I suffer from bruxism?
Because bruxism usually happens while you sleep, you may be unaware of your tooth grinding problem. Some common signs are a dull, constant headache or sore jaws during the day. Your sleep partner will probably be able to hear the results of the phenomenal pressure of your jaw as you clench and grind too!
Will wearing a bite guard cure my bruxism?
No; a bite guard won’t be able to stop you grinding your teeth. Rather, it’s designed to protect your teeth from the damage that can be caused by grinding or clenching, until the underlying cause of your bruxism can be determined and addressed.
How do I clean and take care of my occlusal splint?
To prevent the growth of harmful bacteria on your night splint, you should thoroughly clean and dry your bite splint as soon as you take it out of your mouth. Rinse the mouthguard with cool water, then carefully brush it using your toothbrush and toothpaste.
If you notice calcification or calculus building up on your night splint, soaking it in white vinegar for 30 minutes, followed by careful brushing will help to remove it.