Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)
Have you ever noticed:
Headaches or aching in your cheeks, ears or temples
Filings which crack and dental treatment which does not last
A flattened smile with the rounded edges ground off
A chipped or uneven smile
Teeth that are sensitive to cold
Grooves or notches in your teeth near the gum
You may be grinding your teeth, probably without knowing it in your sleep. This often goes un-noticed until your dentist points it out. This habit is particularly prevalent among young professionals, as one of the main causes is stress; another cause is not having a 'perfect bite'. Grinding is the sub-conscious way in which the brain tries to reposition the teeth into a perfect bite. As you are falling into sleep your face muscles try to find the most relaxed position for your mouth, and if the teeth don't meet together smoothly then the brain tells the teeth to grind away at the obstacle. Of course, the elusive 'perfect' bite is never achieved in this way - as one obstacle is ground down so are the rest of the teeth and the problem just goes on.
For some people, grinding gets so bad that cracking teeth and broken fillings become frequent - they damage their jaw joint, or they grind with such force that they wear their front teeth down which starts to look unsightly if goes unchecked. Bruxism can also lead to teeth becoming loose through gum damage - as you grind you rock the teeth back and forwards into gum and eventually they loosen.
What can I do about Bruxism?
Try to work out why you are stressed, and do something about it. Try to relax with yoga, massage or exercise and try to avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Our team can construct a night guard to help stop the night grinding. For more serious cases we will make up a hard acrylic night guard which is constructed to the exact measurements of your mouth and can be adjusted to simulate a perfect bite, this reduces the sub-conscious need to grind. Extreme cases involve dental work to realign teeth.