In the past few years there has been an increase in the amount of damage caused due to teeth grinding.
It appears that the increase in teeth grinding is due to the stress and anxiety that many people experienced during the pandemic.
Lockdowns and fear of catching COVID have also caused many to miss regular dental checkups and so damage to teeth can sometimes be worse than expected when combined with additional teeth grinding.
Any stress can cause you to clench your jaws and grind of your teeth.
Stress has increased in the past 2 years with the stress of looking after your health, finances and the unknowns surrounding COVID, and even as we are returning to a new normal, some anxiety's remain, and the damage might have already occurred to your teeth.
Clenching or grinding your teeth can cause worn down teeth, cracked teeth, chipped teeth and jaw pain.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF TEETH GRINDING?
Common symptoms of teeth grinding (or it's medical name: Bruxism) include:
Your partner or family member may notice a grinding noise while you sleep
Teeth can become sensitive to hot or cold
A headache lasting more than 2 days, sore jaws, even ear pain
Aching teeth, stiffness in the jaw or face straight after you have woken up
Fractured or cracked teeth
Chipped or loose teeth
Tooth surfaces that are flattening out and revealing the yellow dentine beneath
THE PROBLEM WITH TEETH GRINDING
Occasional teeth grinding is unlikely to cause any long term damage to your teeth.
Some people grind their teeth every night due to stress and this can continue for many years if not a lifetime.
This type of teeth grinding causes a lot of pressure on your teeth and also on your jaw joint and the associated muscles.
When your teeth are under great pressure they are more likely to crack or fracture exposing the dentine of your tooth. The dentine is filled with nerves and so your tooth is then more prone to tooth sensitivity when exposed to hot, cold, sweet, acidic foods, toothbrushing, etc.
Not only are you likely to damage your teeth but you are also likely to damage any dental work that you already have in place such as fillings or dental crowns.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT TEETH GRINDING?
The causes of teeth grinding can be a complex mix between physical reasons and psychological ones.
PHYSICAL TIGGERS CAUSING GRINDING can be address such as dealing with an overly high dental filling or a missing or crooked tooth by discussing it with us at your next dental checkup.
PSYCHOLOGICAL TRIGGERS CAUSING GRINDING such as stress, illness or long term pain may be addressed with the help of your GP or psychologist. Dealing with the underlying problem is important if possible using: * Relaxation techniques especially before going to bed * Regular Exercise * Some medications to relax the jaw muscles
OCCLUSAL SPLINT or NIGHT GUARD An occlusal splint or night guard is worn at night time to protect your teeth from further damage. It looks like a sports mouth guard but is harder so that it can offer protection to the underlying teeth. Occlusal splints are very effective at protecting your teeth form future damage although they are not dealing with the underlying issue causing the grinding in the first place.
Occlusal splints are manufactured at our dental lab here in Brisbane.
If you are concerned that you may be grinding your teeth, mention it to us at your next checkup. We will be able to spot the signs straight away so together we can figure out the best way to protect your teeth.