What are symptoms of teeth grinding?
Signs and symptoms include:
- grinding sounds while the person is asleep
- headache, jaw joint or ear pain
- aching teeth, particularly just after waking up
- aching and/or stiffness of the face and temples just after waking up
- aching or stiffness in the jaws while chewing, particularly during breakfast
- clenching the jaw when angry, anxious or concentrating
- temperature-sensitive teeth
- cracked or chipped tooth enamel
- tooth indentations on the tongue
- raised tissue on the inside of the cheek caused by biting
- loose teeth.
What causes teeth grinding?
Many factors can trigger teeth grinding:
- emotional stress, anger, anxiety
- mental concentration
- physical stress, illness, poor nutrition or long-term pain
- some dental treatments, such as fillings that sit ‘too high’
- drug use (particularly amphetamines)
- when teeth are coming through in babies and children.
What are the dangers of teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding can lead to:
- cracked tooth enamel
- more wear and tear on the teeth than is normal
- broken teeth or broken restorations (for example, fillings)
- strain on the jaw joint (temporo-mandibular joint)
- pain in the jaw joint or limited movement
- sore jaw muscles
- tooth loss (rare)
- enlargement of the jaw muscles that can lead to square loony face.
What are the treatments for teeth grinding?
A long term treatment that has been shown to relax the muscle that is causing the teeth grinding problems. Treating the problem not the symptoms!
- a special mouthguard (‘bite splints’) to wear at night so that the guard is worn down instead of your teeth. In most cases, a bite splint will only help with the symptoms and will not stop you from grinding altogether.
- repair of tooth damage
- fixing fillings that are too high
Other treatments are also needed to manage teeth grinding including:
- stress management therapy
- relaxation techniques