Help me keep my mouth healthy » Grinding and Clenching Prevention
Grinding and Clenching Prevention
At Smile Essential in Leicester we see many people who may be unaware they are grinding their teeth during the day or at night while they sleep. Tooth grinding causes many issues from at worst destroying your teeth, to causing teeth and fillings to crack and headaches.
Your sleep may be disrupted – and you may be disturbing your partner too. So it is well worth speaking to one of our skilled Leicester dentists, who can help resolve this problem and stop any teeth grinding habits.
Why am I grinding my teeth?
Studies have shown that for almost 65% of people who grind their teeth at night the main cause is stress and anxiety, so treating the underlying cause is crucial. Feeling stressed or anxious tends to make us clench our teeth, which results in unnecessary tooth grinding.
Another common cause of teeth grinding is sleep disorders. People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea are more likely to grind their teeth, as are people who snore.
Your lifestyle can also affect whether you grind your teeth. If you smoke, use recreational drugs or drink considerable amount of alcohol you increase your likelihood of grinding your teeth at night.
How can I prevent teeth grinding?
The key to successful treatment is identifying the cause of your teeth grinding, which then makes it easier to find a solution. If the underlying cause is due to stress it would be worth looking at stress reduction techniques including relaxation and meditation or even hypnosis.
By the same token, if you smoke, drink or take recreational drugs then looking at reducing or stopping your intake of these substances will also help your teeth grinding, advise our Leicester dentists at Smile Essential in Narborough Road. Once you have done everything you can to tackle these causes of teeth grinding we can look at some dental alternatives.
Is my teeth grinding causing my headaches and jaw problems?
Yes, quite probably, says Smile Essential's principal dentist, Niket Patel. The muscles around your face, head and neck are all interconnected. This means that if you grind and clench not only will this affect your teeth but also the interconnected muscles. Teeth grinding can sometimes result in head and neck pain and specifically headaches.
As well as creating jaw problems teeth grinding also severely physically affects your teeth. Over a longer period of time your teeth can become so worn down that they become sensitive during normal eating. As the teeth progressively wear down it also affects the way your jaw works, which can lead to further headaches and jaw joint problems.
What are the dental treatments for tooth grinding and clenching?
Broadly speaking, the way these dental treatments work is by preventing your teeth meeting. If we can do this it has the effect of reprogramming your jaw joint muscles so they are able to relax.
Whenever your teeth meet, your muscles have a memory ensuring that your teeth always meet in the same place, the problem is that as your teeth wear down this memory is different to the original place where your jaw used to meet when you were younger. This means that your muscles can be under constant tension forcing your teeth into their new worn down position.
By wearing a night guard and preventing your teeth from meeting your muscles have a chance to relax. When you wake up in the morning you might find that your teeth don't meet together like they would normally, this is because your muscles have been reprogrammed and have relaxed fully.
This teeth grinding night guard works because your jaw is not a simple hinge, it is a complex arrangement of bones and muscles, which has a considerable amount of flexibility in the way it works.
The reason for these various teeth grinding guards is to reduce headaches, reduce jaw joint problems and prevent your teeth wearing down further.
If you are concerned about your tooth grinding or clenching, please contact Leicester's Smile Essential Dental Practice today to find out how we can help.