Nearly one in ten people grind their teeth and many of these people who grind don’t know they are doing it.
Teeth grinding is known as Bruxism which means the gnashing and grinding of teeth with no functional purpose. There is sleep bruxism which happens while you sleep and wake time bruxism which happens while you are awake.
SLEEP BRUXISM- Sleep related movement disorder is a rhythmic, repetitive activity of the muscle that occurs while you sleep. It is a forceful contact of the biting surfaces. The contact involves jaw movements which can result in unpleasant sounds, clenching on the other hand makes no sound or jaw movements. Bruxism in part can be a symptom of a sleep disorder. Any Dental work done on a grinding patient will be destroyed from the constant grinding away of teeth, which means any restorations done will most likely need to be replaced a number of times.
The cause remains unknown.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU GRIND- Signs and symptoms can be unpleasant as well as not that obvious. Symptoms include tooth wear (usually the most obvious sign) tenderness and pain in the jaw and muscle joints, headaches (usually when you awake), increase in jaw muscle size as well as TMJ which is damage to your jaw joints. Other signs may include neck pains, earaches, hearing loss and ear ringing. Not all of these may be present, some grinders may not experience any pain. The wear and tear of teeth is a good indication of the intensity of your grinding. The condition of your teeth stands out as a good sign that you grind. If you suspect you grind then it’s a good idea to see a Dentist, they can check the wear and tear of your teeth along with your joint and jaw muscles.
HOW TO TREAT GRINDING- There is no known cure for grinding (Bruxism) but a common treatment is to get an occlusal splint made that you wear while you sleep that protects your teeth. They are made from acrylic. It will not stop you from grinding. The devise gets destroyed instead of your teeth. Other things that may help reduce grinding is stress reduction, cutting down on smoking and drinking, adopting a good sleep pattern/hygiene (avoid long naps, no lights, TV, a good pillow, a good sleep routine) Refrain from physical activity before bedtime. You can also find out about alternative ways of dealing with the grinding if you talk to your Doctor and Dentist.