Do you grind your teeth? Perhaps you do, but are unaware that you are doing so? It’s likely that if you are aware of your teeth grinding habit that it has been brought to your attention by your dentist or a loved one.
When ignored over the long-run, the negative impact of teeth grinding can wreak havoc in your mouth and do serious damage to your teeth. At Boon Dental, we have helped many patients avoid the negative impacts of teeth grinding. In this article, we tell you what they are, tips for preventing them and how we can help you in Wentworth Point or Ropes Crossing.
What is Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)?
Teeth grinding refers to the persistent grinding or clenching of your teeth, usually as a subconscious habit or response to stress and anxiety. Some people suffer from ‘awake bruxism’ which refers to the unconscious grinding and clenching of your teeth whilst you’re awake. Others may suffer from ‘sleep bruxism’ which refers to the grinding or clenching of your teeth whilst you’re asleep. It is also possible to experience both versions.
Generally, people who suffer from sleep bruxism are more likely to suffer from other sleep disorders too, such as sleep apnoea.
The Negative Impacts of Teeth Grinding
The negative impacts of teeth grinding occur in stages. There are early symptoms of teeth grinding which are simple to treat, and then there are the symptoms of ongoing and untreated teeth grinding. When ignored over the long run, bruxism can result in the kind of damage to your teeth that requires extensive dental work to repair.
The negative impacts of teeth grinding in its early stages are the wearing down of the enamel on your teeth. Enamel doesn’t regenerate, so it’s important to preserve the enamel you have the best you can. Over time, bruxism can result in chips, cracks and other damage to your teeth. Not only does this affect the structural integrity of your teeth but makes them more susceptible to decay. In severe cases, the negative impacts of teeth grinding can include wobbly teeth and even tooth loss!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end at your teeth either. Bruxism can do long-term damage to your jaw that leads to discomfort, movement restriction and clicking when opening and closing your mouth.
Common Signs of Bruxism
As you can see, it’s important to catch teeth grinding in its early stages to avoid serious damage to your teeth. As mentioned, most people are unaware they suffer from bruxism. So, the best way to detect teeth grinding early on is to maintain regular dental check-ups. Dentists know exactly what to look for when assessing your mouth for signs of bruxism.
Below are some of the common signs that suggest you may be grinding your teeth:
- Thinning enamel/worn teeth
- Cracks or chips in teeth
- Deep grooves in teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Jaw and facial pain
- Sores/marks on your tongue and the inside of your cheeks
- Loose teeth
- Frequent waking during the night
- Fatigue during the day
- The sounds of your teeth rubbing together (often heard by partner/loved ones during the night)
Avoiding the Negative Impacts of Teeth Grinding
Because bruxism is a subconscious habit, it can be a very difficult habit to kick. The best thing you can do is protect your teeth from the long-term negative impacts of teeth grinding. Custom-made mouthguards, also known as bite splints, are available at some dentists. These can be worn during the night to absorb the impact of grinding and protect your teeth from rubbing against each other.
Awake bruxism is a little trickier to control, however, methods of relieving stress have been proven to be helpful. In some cases, muscle relaxants can also be administered to ease some of the tension in your jaw muscles.
Below are some additional tips to help minimise your teeth grinding:
- Less caffeine and other stimulant-based products
- Less alcohol
- No absent-minded chewing on things (pencils, pens, ice, gum)
- If you’re aware of your grinding, try placing your tongue between your teeth to help relax your jaw and avoid you biting down.
How Boon Dental Can Help
It’s important to determine whether you grind your teeth in order to put preventative measures in place before damage is done. At our Wentworth Point and Ropes Crossing dental practices, we can help you.
During an oral assessment with one of our dentists, they will check your mouth and teeth for any signs of bruxism. If they determine that you do suffer from bruxism, they can provide a plan of action for you. Depending on the severity of your teeth grinding, you may require some restorative dental work to restore any damage already done.
We can also provide a custom-made bite splint to protect your teeth during the night. Your custom-made bite splint is made to fit, providing your teeth with protection and you with superior comfort whilst you sleep.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us to book an oral assessment with one of our friendly and gentle dentists to avoid the negative impacts of teeth grinding.