How to know if you grind your teeth at night and what to do about it

Grind your teeth at night? This is known as bruxism. Bruxism is the excessive clenching or grinding of teeth which is not done as part of normal chewing. Grinding your teeth can be a problem because it causes an enormous amount of wear of your teeth and puts a strain on your jaw joints and muscles. When you grind your teeth at night, you have no conscious control of what you are doing. This places you at a greater risk of severely damaging your teeth. Do you think you grind your teeth at night? Call us at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538 and we can check your teeth, muscles and jaw joints for signs of wear and fatigue.

Do I grind my teeth at night?

To find out whether you grind your teeth at night, keep an eye out on the common signs and symptoms of bruxism. These may include: • Aching teeth which can be hard to pin point and localise to a specific tooth • An increase in teeth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks • Headaches, migraines or earaches especially first thing in the morning • Sore jaw or temporal muscles • Your partner hears the crunching teeth grinding noise at night • Teeth look shorter and yellower • The enamel of the teeth has fine fracture lines running through it • Broken or chipped teeth • Opening your jaw is harder and you are experiencing problems with chewing If you suspect you are grinding your teeth at night, make sure you visit your dentist. Need a caring family dentist? Call Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538.

What can I do if I grind my teeth at night?

Here are 5 examples of things you can do if you grind your teeth at night:

1. Reduce causative factors

In most cases, bruxism can be prevented. Grinding your teeth at night may be due to physical or psychological stress. Try to manage factors such as nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, food intolerances, anxiety and stress. You can see your GP or counsellor to help diagnose health issues or for stress management. Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises can help as well.

2. Eliminate dental factors

See your dentist, orthodontist or prosthodontist and get them to check for high spots or bite interferences. These can cause bruxism type behaviours if there is a problem with the bite. Your dentist may prescribe anti-inflammatories, painkillers or muscle relaxants to reduce your discomfort.

3. Protect your teeth

Wear a custom-made night guard (occlusal splint) to prevent further damage to your teeth. This is made by your dentist by taking molds of your teeth and creating a mouthguard made of hard plastic to sit over your teeth at night.

4. Repair and rebuild damaged teeth

Dental fillings, crowns or veneers can replace lost tooth structure. If grinding your teeth becomes very severe, you could risk fracturing or splitting your teeth. This may require root canal treatment or removal of the affected teeth. This is why it is important to recognise the signs of bruxism early and manage it quickly.

5. Muscle relaxants

In severe cases of teeth grinding, you may benefit from muscle relaxant injections or tablets. This will reduce the stress and strain placed on your teeth and jaw joint. Speak to your dentist about these options and they will suggest if you are a suitable candidate.

If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, make sure you visit your dentist.

Need a caring family dentist?

Call Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538.

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