Teeth clenching and grinding

Expert treatment for teeth clenching and grinding in Brisbane

Do you often wake up with a dull headache or a sore jaw? Do you sometimes find yourself clenching your teeth? You may not realise that you have a condition called ‘bruxism’, a habit of grinding or clenching the teeth.

Many people are unaware they grind their teeth because they do it while they sleep. Bruxism often occurs in the early part of the night and can disturb sleep partners as the clenching and grinding may be quite audible.

People who grind or clench their teeth may wake with a headache, earache or toothache. Their facial muscles may be sore and the jaw joints tender. Besides causing discomfort, grinding can eventually damage dental restorations and may loosen teeth. Bruxism can also cause damage to the temporomandibular joints – the joints on each side of the mouth that connect the lower jaw to the skull. The pressure from clenching and grinding can cause cracks or fractures in the teeth. As the tooth enamel is worn away, the underlying dentin may be exposed. This causes the tooth to become sensitive to temperature changes and pressure.

At Whitehouse Dental we treat grinding with a night-guard that can be worn while sleeping. Custom-made from soft material to fit your teeth, the night-guard relieves some of the pressure of grinding and clenching.


Splints (dental night guards)

Many people clench and grind their teeth at some stage in their lives which can lead to undue wear, and may cause permanent damage to the teeth and the jaw joints. In some adults and children, clenching and grinding may occur during the day or at night. They have no conscious control over this habit, predominantly because it occurs during sleep.

Some signs and symptoms of grinding and clenching include:

  • pain and sensitivity to heat and cold
  • chronic muscular facial pain and tension headaches
  • flat and worn tooth surfaces
  • microfractures of the tooth enamel
  • broken or chipped teeth or fillings
  • stiffness and pain in the jaw joint
  • earache

The exact cause of clenching and grinding is still not fully understood. Although a combination of physical and psychological factors are believed to contribute to:

– psychological stress, anxiety and tension
– other abnormal anatomy of the teeth or jaws (such as “high spots” on fillings)

An occlusal splint (also called a night guard) is an option for someone with mild to severe grinding behaviour. It is custom-made from moulded hard plastic which results in an exact snug fit over the upper or lower teeth and is worn at night.

If you think that teeth clenching or grinding may be an issue for you, please do contact us, we will able to assess whether or not this is an issue for you and to explore options for treatment if required.