Dentist Claremont

 

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Bruxism - Why you need to treat teeth grinding and jaw clenching

A healthy diet, combined with good oral hygiene practices should ensure your trips to the dentist are limited, right?

Wrong.

Although, we know that acidic and sugary foods damage the enamel of our teeth, there are other habits that severely damage your teeth without you realising.

In this article, we’ll be discussing Bruxism and Jaw Clenching – and how we treat them.

Bruxism - Custom night guards

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism, often referred to as teeth grinding; occurs when the lower jaw is tightened and moved sideways against the upper jaw.

Teeth grinding leaves distinctive tooth wear patterns, which often only become visible during dental examinations.

Contact us, to book your dental check-up appointment.

Jaw Clenching – Is it similar to grinding teeth?

Generally, bruxing is described as clenching or teeth grinding, however these are distinct activities that have various causes and impact your teeth differently.

Jaw Clenching otherwise known as teeth clenching; is characterised by the bracing of the jaws, involving no movement.

People who suffer from jaw clenching, are more likely to report aching jaws with hardly any evidence of wear marks on their teeth.

Teeth Grinding – It’s a night habit

Teeth grinding is more likely to occur at night time.

Consequently, you may not hear or notice yourself grinding your teeth, leaving you unaware of why you have jaw pain in the morning.

Teeth Grinding Symptoms include:

  • Headaches,
  • Sensitivity pain when biting,
  • Waking up with headache,
  • Tired or sore face in the morning,
  • Sore muscles in the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) around the ear,
  • Difficulty opening mouth wide,
  • Chipped edges of the teeth.

Day Time Jaw Clenching

Unlike teeth grinding, clenching is more commonly observed during the day and can be a result of work pressure, intense conversation or feeling stressed.

Although, you may be symptom free in the morning, you will begin to feel more jaw pain as the day passes.

Clenching is semi-voluntary and is often accompanied by other oral habits like cheek biting, tongue thrusting and nail biting.

Bruxism Treatment – You may need a Night Guard

There are several ways to help you preserve the health of your teeth.

For night time teeth grinders, our dental practice recommends wearing a custom night guard, provided by our dental practice (please see below). This will protect your teeth against clenching or grinding while you sleep.

Treating Jaw Clenching

Day time jaw clenching is a lot easier to treat as it occurs while you are awake.

Because one of the main causes of jaw clenching is stress, a lot of the treatment is based on stress and anxiety relief, including:

  • Minimising the amount of stress you have in your life.
  • Try to include exercise or meditation in your daily routine.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep each night.
  • Try to be conscious of your jaw muscles and when you are clenching them.
  • Avoid caffeine, often caffeine is overlooked and is seen rather as a “helping aid”. However, consuming just 1 cup of coffee a day can actually cause anxiety and increase stress levels.
  • Increase your water consumption.

Additionally, we suggest having your teeth examined. In some cases, teeth alignment may be affecting your bite and in turn, causing you to clench your jaw.

Make an appointment, to check the alignment of your teeth.

Furthermore, another treatment for jaw clenching is a custom mouth guard, provided by our dental practice (please see below).

Custom Night Guards

Different to protective mouth guards worn during athletics. Night guards are mouth guards that are worn at night to protect your teeth against grinding.

Although, people continue to grind their teeth at night, by using a mouth guard, they avoid damaging their teeth, because the guard takes the impact of the grinding.

When creating your custom night guard, we will measure your mouth and teeth and shape a guard according to those specifications.

Custom night guards are often the more ideal choice when protecting against jaw clenching and bruxism, because they account for your unique mouth shape and circumstances.

Cloud 9 Dental – Your Dentist in Claremont, Cape Town

If you suffer from a dull headache or jaw pain in the morning it may be due to night grinding of your teeth.

Cloud 9 Dental have many years of experience in treating bruxism. Contact us, for more information or to book a dental appointment.

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