Clenching Teeth, Grinding Teeth and Bruxism
It is a common for people to clench their jaws and grind their teeth. This condition is also known as Bruxism. Bruxism, grinding and/or clenching can happen during the night when you are asleep or during the day and for some people it may happen through the day and night. It is more common to clench or grind teeth during the night subconsciously. During the day most people manage to consciously stop grinding or clenching.
What causes clenching, grinding and bruxism?
There are a number of factors that affect teeth grinding and clenching.
- Your condition may be caused by the way your teeth are positioned and the way your teeth bite together or the way the jaw joint (TMJ) is positioned.
- Snoring or sleep apnoea may also be a cause if you clench or grind your teeth.
- Stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine and smoking can also increase Bruxism (clenching and grinding activity).
- Stress, anxiety and depression play a large role in the condition of bruxism and the extent of clenching and grinding can even be directly related.
What are the signs and symptoms of bruxism?
- Tense or stiff facial muscles
- Pain around the jaws or jaw joint in front of the ear
- Headaches, pain at the temples and/or neck pain
- Limited jaw opening
- Sleep disturbance
- Tooth wear and damage to the teeth
- Clenching of the teeth and jaws
What are the treatments for bruxism?
The most widely used treatment for bruxism is to have a bite appliance made which you should wear at night. This type of appliance has numerous variations and names such as Occlusal Bite Guard or Bite Splint, Michigan Splint, Tanner Splint or B-splint. The bite splint will protect your teeth from further tooth wear and damage. The bite splint will position your jaw to protect your TMJ Jaw Joint from being overloaded and it will hold your joint in it’s ideal position. The bite splint will also hold your muscles in a relaxed position to prevent muscle spasm and pain. Bite splints will help to control the effects of Bruxism.
If snoring is also an issue we can make you a Mandibular Advancement Device or Snoring device which can help with both snoring and bruxism.
Many people who grind or clench their teeth also exhibit square jaws due to a hypertrophied (enlarged) masseter muscle. The overactivity of the muscle leads to it’s enlargement which leads to further overactivity and the cycle continues. With Botox injections in the masseter muscle we can reduce the overactivity and the enlargement providing you with immediate relief.
It is also recommended to reduce stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine and smoking as these can exacerbate your bruxism; grinding and clenching.
Using relaxation techniques, yoga and meditation can also help to tackle any muscle tension and stress that may be involved in the cause of your bruxism.