Just How Serious Is Teeth Grinding And What Can Be Done About It?

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If you’ve been to a Southampton dentist recently and been told that you may be suffering from bruxism, you’re probably not alone. Although a paucity of studies have yet to show how many people suffer from teeth grinding in the UK, most dentists will agree that it’s on the rise. In fact some dental clinics have seen a 20% rise in cases in the last few years alone.

More commonly known as teeth grinding, the cause is by no means certain but it’s thought to be linked to stress, although psychological issues, poor diet and sleep problems have also been noted as possible causes.

Teeth GrindingMuch of it occurs at night when the sufferer is asleep, so chances are that they don’t realise they’re doing it until the dentist spots it. That said, more often than not it’s irate partners that are the first to discover it as they are awoken by a noise that can only be described as a “concrete mixer, travelling down a blackboard!”

So what damage can bruxism cause?

In essence bruxism has both short-term and long-term effects, most of which can make the sufferer feel pretty miserable.

Short term effects include

Headaches – Did you know that bruxism sufferers are 3 times more likely to develop headaches?

Ear ache

Aching jaw and facial muscles otherwise known as facial myalgia

Sleep disruption, both of the sufferer and the bed partner

Tightness or stiffness in the shoulders

Reddened or receding gums

Sensitive teeth

The long-term effects include

  • Extreme tooth wear and breakage
  • Tempromandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)
  • Cranofacial pain

Can it be treated?

In essence yes it can. That said, it’s important first of all to ‘flesh out’ the root cause of the problem and deal with that first. In many cases the answer might lie in behavioural approaches such as hypnosis, relaxation techniques and even regression therapy. For others it’s about managing stress, tackling sleep apnoea and even simple adjustments such as leading a more healthy lifestyle.

Night guards

Night guards otherwise known as bite guards, bite plates or occlusal splints are (as the name suggests) generally worn at night. They’re specifically designed to prevent inadvertent tooth movement, so for the sufferer it means that they can sleep soundly without fear of causing further damage to their teeth. For the bed partner it’s great news too because they can now get a good night’s sleep. It is worth pointing out that night guards aren’t a treatment in themselves, but are most effective when used in conjunction with the methods above.

For those who have suffered damaged teeth through teeth grinding there are many orthodontic and cosmetic procedures that can be carried out to help restore your teeth. Here at Smilemakers we’re a orthodontic and cosmetic dentist in Southampton and have been treating all types of teeth problems for many years. Why not act now and give Dr Thomas Darling and the team a call on 02380 44 26 26. and put bruxism behind you once and for all. To read more about all the treatments that we offer why not visit our website at www.smilemakers.co.uk.

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