Teeth Grinding (bruxism) and clenching are common conditions which can lead to long term irreversible wear and damage of the teeth . These conditions can often go undiagnosed and unmanaged which can lead to jaw pain and problems called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and can result in the need for complex restorative treatment.
Stressful life events, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, genetic factors, smoking, alcohol, caffeine and some prescription and recreational drugs have been linked as contributing factors for bruxism.
Signs you maybe grinding/clenching include:
- Abnormal tooth wear
- Chipped or fractured teeth or fillings
- Joint pain or tenderness
- Neck and shoulder tightness
- Jaw muscle discomfort/tension, earaches, facial pain.
An occlusal splint or “night guard” may be recommended to provide a barrier between the grinding surfaces of the teeth to protect against further wear and damage. Depending on your case your dentist may also refer you to a physiotherapist, give you specific exercises or recommend other types of treatment such as muscle relaxants.