A lot of things happen while we are asleep and we have no control of them. For example, we can’t control our dreams and also, we can’t control clenching or grinding.
Usually, a person doesn’t realise that they suffer from Bruxism (involuntary clenching, grinding and gnashing the teeth), especially when it happens at night so in most cases, the first person noticing it is the partner or the parents. The causes can be a little bit of a mystery in some cases, but there are a range of factors that play a part: smoking, too much caffeine, alcohol and some illicit drugs can exaggerate links with this condition. It can also be genetic or be related to other disorders such as sleep apnoea, but for many people it is the result of emotional stress, anxiety, tension or anger. In children, it is common to find that they are grinding at night, but this condition usually resolves itself overtime.
Symptoms of grinding teeth:
- Aching teeth and/or stiffness in the face and templates, especially after waking up
- Headache, jaw joint and ear pain
- Cracked or chipped tooth enamel
- Sensitive teeth, specially to temperature
- Tooth indentations in the tongue and/or raised tissue
- More wear and tear in the teeth than normal
- Loose teeth
If you suspect that you could suffering from Bruxism, it is really important you speak to your dentist. Treating the clenching and grinding is important not only to soothe aches and pains, but for protecting your teeth as this condition puts a lot of pressure on them. If Bruxism is left untreated, it can become a vicious cycle: the muscles that cause the grinding to get stronger, so grinding gets worse and your symptoms continue to worsen.
Treatment includes an occlusal splint that you wear at night and other therapies like stress management that will help with the cause of the problem.
The sooner you start treatment for Bruxism, the better! Having a consultation with Dr. Pieter, Dr. Lina or Dr. Brandon will help you manage your symptoms and prevent things getting worse.