Bruxism is the medical term for involuntary Teeth Grinding or clenching and can affect both adults and children. It happens commonly when people are asleep and most of the time, they are unaware of the issue. Normally it is the partner or the parents that pick it up the problem as they can hear the grinding at night time.
What causes Teeth Grinding?
There are many causes of Teeth Grinding and our experienced Dentist will complete a comprehensive check up and diagnosis to find the root of the cause. Sometimes it may be just one thing but other times it may be a combination of risk factors together as listed here:
- Feelings of stress, anxiety or anger
- Drugs such as antidepressants, anti-psychotics, amphetamines, cocaine
- Medical conditions such as Huntington, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Nerve or muscle illnesses of the face
- Over consumption of alcohol, caffeine, smoking
- Sleep disorders
- Bad bites from missing or awkward position of teeth
Symptoms and problems of Teeth Grinding
People that grind or clench their teeth often present to the dentist with the following problems:
- Severe headache and ear pain
- Jaw pain when opening and closing
- Neck pain and stiffness to the face and temples
- Injury to tongue and cheek
- Chipped and broken teeth
- Flat and short looking teeth
- Sensitivity to hot and cold liquids or food
- Tenderness when biting together
- Popping or clicking of the jaw joint
Solutions to Teeth Grinding
The management of Teeth Grinding is dependent on the severity and the cause behind the habit. Leaving it unattended can progress to irreversible damage to the teeth and jaw joint.
Our dentists will work with you to tailor a treatment plan most suitable to your needs, sometimes this can involve working in conjunction with medical practitioners and physiotherapists if it is a multidisciplinary case. If it is stress related, management usually involves good sleep and stress management therapy to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
To protect the teeth from cracking and breaking, our dentist may need to:
- Create an occlusal splint
- Rebuild damage teeth with placement of fillings
- Place crowns on teeth that are too heavily broken
- Provide tips for jaw exercises
What is an occlusal splint?
An occlusal splint is essentially a night guard that people wear during sleep. It is a very good solution to preventing further damage caused by Teeth Grinding and clenching. The splint is custom made to your teeth and fits over the top of either the teeth at the top or bottom jaw. The aim of the splint to stop further scrapping and flattening of your teeth and relieve the symptoms of any jaw pain. You will still grind but the tension and forces to the teeth and jaw is remarkably reduced.
Is an occlusal splint comfortable?
As it is a personalised treatment that fits uniquely over your set of teeth, it is comfortable for many people except for those with severe gag reflex. There are different types of splint depending on your needs, our dentists can provide thin splints, soft splints, hard splints or combination of soft inner lining and hard outer surface. The hard splints can last up to 5 years and caring for the splints are simple, all you have to do is brush it after use and keep it in a safe space.
How do I get an occlusal splint?
Call our clinic on (03) 9748 7271 or book online for an appointment with our friendly team so they can diagnose you appropriately. After that they will take some models of your teeth and you will receive your splint 1-2 weeks after. At the second visit or the insert visit, your splint is fitted and adjusted as needed to make sure it is most comfortable for you to use at home.