Part 2: Do you know if you grind or clench your teeth at night?

Author: Dr Aushi Patel

In our previous blog we discussed signs and reasons for teeth grinding or clenching. Now that you may have identified this habit, it’s time to consider the potential consequences and learn what can be done.

Did you know that we can place immense forces on our teeth and jaw joints when grinding or clenching at night?  In fact it is estimated that we can exert 10 times the pressure on our teeth during sleep than we would ever dream of doing so during the day!

Some consequences of ignoring teeth grinding and clenching can be:

·     Tooth wear, sensitivity and pain.

·      Receding gums and wearing of exposed root surfaces at the gum line.

·      Cracked teeth which may ultimately lead to loss of  teeth which can further exacerbate jaw issues.

·      Loss of facial height and premature appearance of ageing.

·      Damage to the TMJ (jaw joint) due to excessive stretching of the ligaments which may present as clicking and/or locking of the joints.

Mouth Guard

So what can you do?

 Your first step should be to see your dentist

At Anokhi Dental we take a holistic approach and look for the cause (s) of this habit known as bruxism as well as how we can offer dental care and protection for your teeth.

From a holistic view we will investigate whether is it due to high stress levels, poor digestive health, perhaps a sleep disorder? It is important that these underlying factors be addressed which may mean we will refer you to an appropriate medical practitioner for further care.

 As dentists, we want to protect your teeth and TMJ (jaw joints). 

·     A custom made grinding splint to wear over the teeth at night can go a long way in protecting your teeth and support your jaw joints (TMJ).This is a soft or hard wafer-like mouth guard  worn over either your upper or lower teeth which is made to fit the specific contours of your mouth.

·     If you snore or have an underlying sleep disorder you may require a more specific  dental sleep appliance.

·     If your teeth have worn down through the enamel and the underlying dentine is exposed (the hard protective outer layer of your teeth) then we will discuss options to restore your teeth to their original condition and prevent further damage.

In our next blog we will discuss how good sleep practices, popularly known as  “Sleep Hygiene” can help you, particularly if you are clenching or grinding your teeth at night. We look forward to sharing our 5 top tips for a good night’s sleep!

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