If your dentist has noticed signs of grinding (also known as Bruxism) on your teeth you’re not alone, around 5% of the population regularly grind their teeth and this number has increase significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are not aware that they grind because it often occurs unconsciously while we are sleeping. If left untreated it can cause serious long-term damage, but don’t worry there are ways to prevent further damage to your teeth.
Signs & Symptoms
- Fractured, chipped, short or loose teeth
- A dull headache, sore jaws and/or ear pain
- Aching teeth, and stiffness in the face and temples, particularly in the morning after waking up
- Jaw joints become sore while eating
- Generalised sensitive teeth
- Wear marks on the teeth and white lines on the cheek
Often these symptoms can go unnoticed therefore it is always important to have regular dental check-ups so the problem can be treated early.
Causes Of Teeth Grinding
- Stress and anxiety
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Certain drugs and medications
It is always important to treat the underlining cause of the grinding therefore the dentist may referral you to a specialist, for example and ENT to treat snoring.
Additionally, if teeth have been weakened by acid erosion the effects of grinding can be greatly increased.
Managing Teeth Grinding
Your dentist will usually recommend a custom-made occlusal splint to wear at night to help protect the teeth from wear and damage caused by involuntary teeth grinding or clenching. It also acts to relieve stress and strain on surrounding face and mouth muscles as well as the jaw joints. The splint will not stop the wearer from grinding but helps to take away the some of the signs and symptoms.
What Happens If Teeth Grinding Is Left Untreated
If left untreated grinding can permanently damage your teeth leaving them short, sensitive and at risk of decay. It can lead to fractured or chipped teeth with may require removal or expensive repair.