Bruxism also known as grinding or clenching, is described as excessive force applied to the teeth that is not part of normal chewing. Grinding and clenching can occur in adults or children and can arise either day or night.
Causes of bruxism can be a combination of physical and psychological contributing factors such as:
- physical stress
- psychological stress
- sleep disorders
- abnormal tooth anatomy including high spots on fillings
Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:
- pain in the teeth, and possible sensitivity to temperature.
- chronic facial pain with tension headaches, caused by intense muscle contraction
- the noise of grinding, noticed by friends or partners (often at night while sleeping)
- flattened tooth surfaces
- micro-fractures of tooth enamel
- broken or chipped teeth
- stiffness or pain in the jaw
Accurate diagnosis is important to ensure correct treatment is received. Your dentist will note:
- the location of the pain, stiffness or soreness
- the range of jaw movement
- any noises in the jaw joint
- bite patterns, tooth wear and movement of the teeth.
Treatments for bruxism include teaching a patient to be aware of when they grind or clench, so the may break the habit and learn to rest their mouth.
An occlusal splint also know as a night-guard is an option for mild to severe grinding behaviour. A night-guard is made of hard plastic and can be worn on either the upper or lower teeth. This guard serves to protect against further wear of tooth surfaces.
Muscle relaxant injections can be administered. These injections generally take a few days to a week to become fully effective. Treatment needs to be re-done approximately every 3 months.
All of the above treatment options can be provided at Salamanca Dental.