Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a repetitive jaw-muscle activity that involves clenching or grinding of the teeth or thrusting of the jaw. This can happen while awake or during sleep.
Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding
You might be experiencing teeth grinding if you notice some or all of the following signs:
• Worn down, shorter teeth
• Chipped and cracked teeth, fillings or crowns
• Pain and tenderness in the facial and neck muscles in the morning
• Grinding noises – a bed partner may notice, but your partner may not hear anything if they are in deep sleep, and it may not happen every night.
Some effective management options for teeth grinding and clenching may include:
• Protecting the teeth and any fillings or crowns. This is best done by using a custom made splint (a type of mouth guard). Hard splints are better than soft ones. Do not use a ready-made splint without consulting your dental practitioner. Poorly fitted splints can cause further damage if the wear is due to tooth erosion. Splints that do not cover all the teeth may lead to unwanted tooth movement.
• Restoring the damaged teeth with fillings or crowns (when necessary, see above).
• Seeing a physiotherapist who has knowledge in treatment of this issue.
The following may help with muscle tenderness or aching:
• Using warm heat packs over the tender muscles
• Trying to eat softer foods and limiting jaw movements where possible
• Using over-the-counter pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications as
directed, for short periods of time.
Studies on the use of Botox injections into some of the jaw muscles are being conducted.
Helpful tips to prevent Teeth grinding
. Stop smoking and drinking coffee or alcohol at night
. Limit physical or mental activity before going to bed, and make sure you have a relaxing sleep environment
. Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga
. Address excessive psychological stress, anxiety or depression as these may aggravate your teeth grinding
.Visit your dental practitioner regularly
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