Around 5% of the Australian population regularly and forcefully grind their teeth. Some individuals are unaware that they grind their teeth, because it is usually done whilst sleeping or when under a lot of stress. Whilst teeth are prone to natural wear and tear, regular teeth grinding can hasten the process and potentially lead to facial pain, frequent headaches, disruption to sleep, worn-down teeth and increased sensitivity. In this blog post, Sydney Park Dental will be sharing some insight into this condition and the treatment options available.
What is Teeth Grinding, and Why is It a Problem?
References to teeth grinding go back to biblical times, with the bible making mention of the ‘grinding and gnashing’ of teeth. Bruxism is a common and age-old condition that can affect both children and adults. Put simply, teeth grinding occurs when the upper and lower teeth meet and grind together – typically whilst an individual is stressed (angry, nervous, during deep concentration etc.) or asleep.
Whilst the upper and lower teeth meet when eating, swallowing and speaking, it is not normal to be clenching or grinding them together outside of these activities. Doing so leads to increased wear and tear, and long term it can cause serious damage to the protective enamel layer on the teeth.
This can lead to issues including:
- Increased risk of tooth decay
- Cracked/chipped tooth enamel
Treatment for Teeth Grinding
Many people are unaware that they have an issue with teeth grinding. In most cases, a parent or partner will inform someone that they could hear them grinding their teeth during sleep. Your dentist may also comment on tooth wear and tear during your routine examination. If you think you may have an issue with teeth grinding, it is important to discuss this with your dentist who will be able to advise on the most appropriate treatment option for you.
Some possible treatment options include:
- Mouthguard (occlusal splint) – a custom made mouthguard sits over your upper teeth. This can reduce jaw strain and prevent you from causing damage to your teeth when clenching or grinding.
- Stress management therapy – as a contributing factor to teeth grinding, it is important to learn how to manage your stress through techniques such as meditation.
- Dietary and Lifestyle changes – habits such as smoking, fad diets and alcohol can increase stress level, disrupt sleep patterns and are associated with an increase in bruxism.
Book an Appointment at Sydney Park Dental Today
If you think you may be grinding your teeth, your dentist will be able to immediately identify the signs and propose suitable treatments and strategies to prevent further damage to your teeth. Contact Sydney Park Dental today on 02 8084 7170 to book an appointment.