Stress, tension, uncertainty and worry can make us more prone to teeth clenching and grinding. Teeth clenching and grinding can cause discomfort, tooth and jaw pain, and can even damage or crack teeth. Long term teeth clenching (or bruxism) can lead to TMJ problems, facial pain and headaches and severely impact on your quality of life.
Kenmore holistic dentist Dr Rachel Hall has spent many years learning about and treating patients with TMJ and teeth clenching or teeth grinding issues and what causes them.
Teeth grinding, or Bruxism as it’s officially known is one of those tricky conditions that you could be suffering from without even knowing it. As bruxism mainly happens while we sleep it is an unconscious involuntary clenching, grinding and gnashing of the teeth, that doesn’t always display its symptoms in ways that are immediately noticeable.
Most people aren’t even aware they are grinding their teeth until their partners tell them or advanced symptoms such as jaw pain, headaches and worn down, sensitive teeth start to emerge.
Occasionally you may notice that you are gritting your teeth together during the day especially in times of stress and this can be a telltale sign that you are suffering from nighttime bruxism also.
What makes it difficult to work out if you grind your teeth is that while you may have some symptoms when you first wake up, they can quickly disappear; and if you grind teeth during waking hours, symptoms won’t be noticeable until later in the day.
So what should you be looking out for?
Even if you’re not sure that teeth grinding is responsible for the symptoms you’re experiencing, telling your dentist as soon as you suspect something’s wrong means they can perform a diagnosis and devise possible treatment options.
All those niggling, sometimes painful symptoms may be clues to even worse damage being done. Teeth grinding places a lot of pressure on your teeth, cracking their protective enamel, fracturing them and breaking things like crowns and fillings while placing great stress on your jaws joints and muscles.
People can split perfectly healthy teeth in two because of the intense pressures exerted on their teeth due to teeth clenching or grinding – this means you can end up having to lose a tooth that otherwise would never have needed dental work.
You might also find your teeth are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations and more painful to bite down on as the fibre that attaches them to the bone gets inflamed.
The range of likely causes of bruxism can be physical and psychological meaning that any treatment will often need to address both these aspects. In dentistry, we can take care of the physical causes such as overly high fillings, a misaligned bite, or missing or crooked teeth, and we may fit with a special TMJ mouthguard if you grind your teeth at night.
But if the source of your teeth grinding is emotional, or caused by illness, poor nutrition or long term pain, it’s important to deal with these issues in conjunction with your dental care.
If you think you are suffering from teeth clenching or grinding, TMJ issues or bruxism then we can certainly help you. With our holistic approach to dentistry, our aim is to help diagnose and address your symptoms as well as the underlying issues and work with allied health practitioners to ensure you get the best outcome. Call us today to book a consultation and let us help you get your teeth clenching and grinding issues under control.
Call to book 07 3720 1811