Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition in which you grind, clench or gnash your teeth, usually while you sleep. Up to half of Australian adults suffer from some form of bruxism, with about five percent of people being severely affected.
Grinding teeth may be a symptom of underlying stress or anxiety, or could be caused by a misaligned bite or other disorder. In severe cases, frequent bruxism can result in damaged teeth, jaw problems, facial pain, headaches or other complications.
Even though you might be unaware of your problem, grinding teeth at night can be so loud that it can actually disturb your sleep partner! If this is the case for you, a consultation at Wickham Terrace Dental in the Brisbane CBD could help us diagnose your problem, and prescribe an appropriate treatment for teeth grinding for you.
Diagnosing your bruxism
As part of your regular visits to Wickham Terrace Dental, our team will check for signs that you may have bruxism, such as flattened, chipped or fractured teeth; worn tooth enamel which exposes your teeth’s deeper layers; damaged dental restorations or lost crowns; or damage to your tongue or the inside of your cheek.
For many people, their bruxism is so mild there’s no treatment for teeth grinding needed. But if you start to experience damaged teeth, jaw disorders or other problems, the Wickham Terrace Dental team will prescribe teeth grinding treatments that can help.
Treating your tooth grinding
To find out what’s causing you to grind your teeth at night, we will ask questions about your dental and general health, any medications you’re currently taking, and whether you smoke, or drink alcohol or caffeine in the evenings.
If stress is causing your teeth grinding, we may recommend listening to music, exercising or meditation to help you relax before sleep. We may suggest wearing a custom-made protective bite splint at night while you sleep.
In severe cases, correcting misaligned teeth can help to treat bruxism caused by dental problems. Once your bruxism is treated, we may also suggest rebuilding any very worn teeth with crowns or onlays, to restore the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
The best way to discover the causes of your bruxism, and to treat them, is to contact the Wickham Terrace Dental team for an appointment in our comfortable Brisbane dental practice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main teeth grinding causes?
The causes of teeth grinding will vary for each individual patient, and may be due to both physical and psychological factors. Some of the main causes of bruxism include:
- Stress, anxiety, or tension
- Suppressed frustration and anger
- A hyperactive, aggressive, or competitive personality
- Misaligned upper and lower teeth (malocclusion)
- Other sleep problems
- Pain from an earache or teething in children
- Complications from other diseases
- A side effect of some medication
What are the symptoms of teeth grinding?
We recommend you visit Wickham Terrace Dental if you notice:
- Loud grinding sounds which can wake your sleep partner
- Signs of worn tooth enamel, or increased tooth sensitivity
- Painful, tired or tight jaw muscles
- Facial pain, headaches or earache caused by severe jaw muscle contractions
- Chewing damage to your cheek or tongue
Can you provide advice on how to stop teeth grinding?
There are many actions you can take to address the root causes of your bruxism, such as:
- Wearing a custom-made mouthguard from Wickham Terrace Dental Brisbane, to protect your teeth while you sleep
- Relaxing your jaw muscles with a warm washcloth against your cheek
- Addressing the causes of your stress, including stress counselling, regular exercise, treatment from a physical therapist, or taking muscle relaxants
- Cutting your intake of caffeine by avoiding tea and coffee, cola, and chocolate before bedtime
- Avoiding alcohol, which can exacerbate grinding
- Avoiding chewing gum, which can train your jaw muscles to clench, and promote grinding
Can you supply me with a teeth grinding mouthguard?
Yes, the Wickham Terrace Dental team can supply you with a custom-made mouthguard for grinding teeth called a nocturnal bite plate, nightguard or occlusal splint. Designed to perfectly fit your mouth, it will protect your teeth and prevent tooth damage from bruxism while you sleep.