Lots of people do and they’re not even aware they have the habit as it can often occur during sleep. It’s not uncommon for people to be completely oblivious to the fact they clench and grind, unless they are told they are making a noise during the night by a sleeping partner, or if the problem is identified by their dentist in Bromley. The proper term for clenching and grinding is bruxism and it’s no joke. It can do a huge amount of damage to the teeth and also to the gums due to the pressures placed on these structures, and it can affect the jaw joints. The worst cases will do so much damage that teeth will need to be completely replaced and early treatment is essential to minimise the effects on the teeth and jaws.
Symptoms of Bruxism
There are lots of different symptoms of bruxism which include the following:
- Feeling increased sensitivity towards hot and cold
- Noticing your teeth look chipped or cracked
- Your teeth could look shorter or worn down
- You may wake up with a headache or aching jaw
- It might be painful to open and close your mouth
- Your gums might have begun to recede
- Your teeth may have notches at the base
If you have any of these symptoms and haven’t been to the dentist for a while then it’s worth booking a check-up with Dr Zaki Bashir, to hopefully rule out bruxism. Your dentist will soon be able to identify whether or not you have this condition and can recommend treatment to prevent further damage to your teeth and gums.
Treatment usually focuses on preventing the teeth from coming into contact while you’re asleep, and this is done through providing you with a custom-made night guard. Most night guards are made from a thermoplastic material and fit comfortably over the teeth, holding your bite slightly open. It does take time to get accustomed to wearing a night guard, so you need to allow yourself a few weeks to get used to the feeling.
You’ll need to thoroughly clean your night guard after each use, using a soft toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste to scrub the inside. It’s also quite nice to freshen it up with a few drops of mouthwash every week. Make sure it is stored somewhere it can dry naturally, and that it’s kept out of the reach of dogs as it is not unknown for them to chew on their owners night guards.
What Causes Bruxism?
Bruxism is thought to be related to stress, and if you know you are under quite a lot of pressure at the moment then it could be worthwhile taking steps to reduce this. While it might not be possible to eliminate stress completely, there are various measures you can take to at least reduce the impact, for example taking up exercise or yoga, or trying meditation. If bruxism is causing quite a lot of pain around your jaw joints then it can be helpful to use heat pads to relax the facial muscles.
Hopefully, using a night guard will help reduce or eliminate bruxism. It might only be necessary to wear the night guard for a few months, although some people will need to wear it in the longer term.