How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

You do your best to look after your teeth with regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups, but some things are harder to control. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is an involuntary condition where your jaw muscles clench and cause teeth to grind. It’s most common at night while you’re sleeping, so it can be difficult to tell when you’re grinding your teeth without speaking to your dentist. Unfortunately, while bruxism is involuntary, it can have a big impact on your dental health. In this article we’ll cover the most common treatments for teeth grinding and help you put a stop to the issue.

What are the Effects of Grinding Your Teeth?

Most of us are guilty of grinding our teeth from time to time. It’s usually involuntary, but around half of the Australian population are known to grind their teeth, especially while sleeping. About 5% of Australians suffer from more forceful and consistent grinding problems.
Minor grinding issues here and there usually won’t cause a problem. But, for people with persistent issues, teeth grinding can result in a range of dental problems:

  • Wearing down and damaging teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Jaw stiffness and pain
  • Pain in the teeth, face and temples
  • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • Increased teeth sensitivity
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Tiredness, loss of sleep

Unchecked, tooth grinding can cause damage to your teeth that will need to be treated by a dentist with restoration or extraction work.

How You Can Reduce Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding has been linked to a range of stressors, both physical and psychological. Work and personal stress are major causes of teeth grinding, but it can also be caused by stress-inducing substances like alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and drugs like antipsychotics, antidepressants, amphetamines and cocaine. Reducing your teeth grinding is often a three-step process that includes:

  1. Stress Management. The most important factor in reducing teeth grinding is to manage the source of your stress. Teeth grinding can have a lasting impact on your dental health, so you need to take the necessary steps to improve your situation. If you aren’t experiencing emotional stress, your teeth grinding may be caused by diet and substances.
    Many patients find stress-reduction exercises to be a useful tool in managing their teeth grinding. Activities like regular exercise, yoga and meditation can all reduce stress levels, reducing unconscious teeth grinding. For emotional and professional stress, it may also be helpful to talk to a friend, or consult a therapist or counsellor about the issues affecting your daily life.
  2. Jaw Muscle Exercises. It’s possible to train your jaw muscles not to clench or grind. Exercises typically work the tongue and jaw, stretching the muscles responsible for clenching. This normalises a more relaxed jaw position. Speak to the team at Camira Dental about your teeth grinding. We can recommend jaw exercises to reduce grinding and help manage the condition.
  3. Occlusal Splints. For persistent cases of teeth grinding we recommend the fitting of an occlusal splint also known as a bite plate or bruxing plate. They are used to take the pressure of the jaw joints and teeth. These are usually worn at night and should not have any permanent effect on the position of the teeth. They may need to be adjusted regularly and monitored for some months to help relieve pain. These splints are made of hard acrylic that is still softer than teeth. Soft splints such as a sports mouth guard or chemist bought guard have been proven to make symptoms worse. Being fitted for a custom bite guard is a simple process but they are an important part of the treatment plan for patients who experience severe bruxism. 

Need an Occlusal Splint? Contact the Experts at Camira Dental Today!

The custom splints fitted by the team at Camira Dental are one of the best ways to help manage your grinding and protect your teeth. Our splints are designed to fit your jaw comfortably. Being fitted for a custom splint is a simple process, but they’re an important part of the treatment plan for patients who experience severe bruxism. At Camira Dental, we can asses your teeth and recommend exercises and other treatment options which may involve referral to specialist dentists and or physiotherapists.  Phone 3288 2918 to book.