Teeth Grinding: Why we do it and what can be done to prevent it

Teeth Grinding: Why we do it and what can be done to prevent it

Whilst most people are aware of any problems with their teeth or gums, teeth grinding or Bruxism, often goes undetected.

As it doesn’t always present symptoms, some people can grind their teeth without even realising it.  For those that are aware of the issue, there will be tell tale signs and sometimes an underlying cause that needs to be treated, because we generally grind our teeth due to stress or anxiety.

How can you tell if you grind your teeth?

Well, the funny thing is that it might not be you who first spots that you are grinding your teeth.  Your partner may notice the noise of you grinding your teeth whilst you are sleeping, or your dentist may notice that your teeth are becoming worn down.

You may spot the signs of teeth grinding yourself by recognising one or more of the common symptoms listed below:

  • Earache
  • Pain or stiffness around the jaw
  • Headache
  • Facial pain
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Broken teeth or fillings

If you suspect that you might be grinding your teeth or are struggling with any of the above symptoms we advise you to ask at your next dental check up or make an appointment to discuss with your dentist.

What causes teeth grinding?

It is most likely that teeth grinding is caused by stress or worry.   It can also be linked to sleep problems and may be a side effect of taking certain medication, including antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 

Lifestyle factors can also increase the likelihood of you grinding your teeth, and these include smoking, taking recreational drugs or drinking lots of caffeinated drinks.

What can you do about it?

Aside from treating the root cause of your tooth grinding by trying to reduce stress and anxiety, there are also ways that your dentist can help.  Mouth guards or splints can be used to help reduce that grinding feeling and protect your teeth from further wear.  Mouth guards are similar to those worn for playing sports, and will even out the pressure on your jaw and provide a physical barrier between the top and bottom teeth.  They will be custom made to suit your mouth, so they won’t feel uncomfortable to sleep in.

And what happens if you ignore it?

Choosing to ingore your teeth grinding won’t only put your teeth at risk, but also your overall health. We’d recommend you speak to your dentist about tooth grinding solutions and then seek advice from your GP if you think that stress or anxiety are causing you to grind your teeth.  Ignoring the problem may lead to further complications such as infection or a dental abscess.

How can Dentalia help?

At Dentalia we offer a number of different solutions to teeth grinding and other every day tooth-related issues, so please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01256 353033 or speak to us at your next appointment to find out how we can help.

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