Have you noticed you wake up with a sore or aching jaw in the mornings or maybe your teeth look a bit shorter than before? There is a relatively common condition called bruxism, where sufferers will clench and grind their teeth during the night, causing extensive damage not only to their teeth, but also to their gums and jaw joints.
What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?
Common symptoms include waking up with facial pain in the mornings and your teeth might look slightly broken down or chipped. Tooth sensitivity may increase as grinding wears away the protective layer of tooth enamel. You might also notice that your jaw makes a clicking or popping sound whenever you try to open or close it and that it is painful to eat, speak or yawn. Sometimes facial pain can spread down the neck and into the shoulders and bruxism can cause chronic headaches. You might be completely unaware that you clench and grind as this is a subconscious habit. Sometimes people only find out when a sleeping partner complains about the sound as bruxism can be quite a noisy habit.
How Smilemakers Can Help You
If you think you might have bruxism then we urge you to come and see our Southampton dentist as soon as you can. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner we can prevent any further damage to your teeth and jaws. We can also provide restorative treatment for teeth that may already have become badly damaged. It is important to treat this condition as otherwise it could eventually lead to tooth loss and it can cause extensive damage to your jaw joints which are called temporomandibular joints, causing a condition called temporomandibular disorder or TMD. In the worst case it may require surgery to try to correct TMD which is definitely something we are keen to for you to avoid.
Quite often it is perfectly straightforward to treat bruxism as we can provide you with a custom-made mouthguard or night splint. This works by preventing your teeth from coming into contact so you can no longer clench or grind. It will usually consist of a mouthguard that covers your upper teeth and which is made from thin, strong plastic. Sometimes just wearing this mouthguard for a while can be enough to break the habit of bruxism.
When you visit our dentist in Southampton we will also check to make sure your bruxism isn’t being caused by another issue as sometimes a bad bite or malocclusion, where your teeth do not fit together properly can prompt this condition. Correcting the position of your teeth with orthodontics or replacing old and ill-fitting fillings or crowns and bridges can help considerably. Another thing that may be useful is to check your stress levels as sometimes bruxism can beat stress-related and taking positive action to relax more can be useful.
If you are at all concerned that you may have bruxism then it is worth contacting our dental practice to book a check-up. A simple examination will soon determine if you have this condition and could help save your smile. Call us today on 02380 442626 or contact us through our website on www.smilemakers.co.uk.