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Tooth Grinding and Clenching and its Effect on Your Dental Health

You may find yourself occasionally clenching or grinding your teeth in anger or frustration as most of us do it occasionally and this is extremely unlikely to do any lasting damage to your teeth. It can be a different story when someone has a clenching and grinding habit, a condition called bruxism and which occurs on a regular basis. The major problem with bruxism is that it tends to occur during sleep and it is possible to be completely unaware you have this habit until it begins to cause you dental problems.

What Causes Bruxism?

tooth grindingBruxism can sometimes be caused by stress and anxiety, so if stress is affecting you then it is worth considering ways to try to reduce it to help save your teeth. However bruxism can also be caused by other conditions such as having an abnormal bite, crooked or missing teeth or it can be due to a sleep disorder called sleep apnoea.

Symptoms Caused by Tooth Grinding and Clenching

Grinding or clenching your teeth puts considerable pressure on your temporomandibular joints which are the joints responsible for moving your lower jaw. As a result they can become inflamed and painful and you may notice it is difficult to move your jaw without feeling discomfort. Other symptoms include aching teeth or noticing that your teeth look increasingly worn down and chipped. Bruxism can also affect the gums, causing gum recession. Tooth grinding and clenching can cause a dull headache that is difficult to get rid of or facial pain that extends down into your neck and shoulders. If you grind your teeth severely then it can lead to them becoming considerably shorter and worn down, affecting the appearance of your face due to the loss of dimensions.

How Can I Find out If I Have This Problem?

It’s possible that your sleeping partner may have commented that you’re making a noise during sleep as bruxism isn’t always a very quiet habit. The best way to find out for sure is to visit South Benfleet Dental Care for a proper examination. Our dentist will soon be able to tell if you have this condition and can help determine its cause. If it is due to a bite problem, then correcting this could be sufficient to get rid of your bruxism. Otherwise a very common treatment is to have a custom-made mouth guard or night guard.

This is made from a tough, hard plastic and fits tightly over your teeth, usually your upper teeth. It is carefully shaped so as not to obstruct your breathing and you should find it perfectly comfortable to wear overnight. Preventing your teeth from contacting will stop damage caused by bruxism and will help break this habit.

It’s important that you seek help from a South Benfleet dentist if you think you might have bruxism as this condition can be very destructive and in the worst case could even lead to tooth loss. Contact us to book a consultation by phoning 01268 793485.

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