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Teeth Grinding - How To Stop Grinding At Night

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

Teeth Grinding, How To Stop Grinding Teeth at Night. Gympie Dentist, Channon Lawrence Dental, Dr Mark Cull
Teeth Grinding - How to Stop Grinding Teeth At Night

Teeth Grinding Keeping You Up at Night? Here's the Solution

Bruxism is the involuntary clenching, grinding and gnashing of the teeth. About half of the population does it from time to time. Around 5% of the population are regular, forceful tooth grinders. Often it happens during sleep, but some people grind their teeth when they are awake. - Better Health Vic website

Grinding your teeth can cause dental problems, which are more serious than you might realise. Many people are unaware they are grinding their teeth because it occurs while they are sleeping.

While bruxism occurs during sleep, there are those who grind their teeth and clench their jaw while they are conscious, a condition referred to as awake bruxism.

There are methods for stopping teeth grinding, we will always do our best to find a solution that will work for you.

What’s the First Step to Stop Grinding Teeth?

First we work out reason’s why you’re grinding your teeth and how bad it is.

Dr Mark Cull of Channon Lawrence Dental in Gympie recommends a consultation to identify the reason behind your teeth grinding. When Dr Cull knows why you are grinding your teeth, he can recommend an appropriate treatment.

During this consultation we look at all the solutions that will suit you and your budget. Dr Mark has many years experience with this issue and has helped people overcome teeth grinding.

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

A lot of night-time teeth grinding is the result of pent-up stress, but there are other conditions that can bring it on, including:

  • Sleep issues like sleep apnoea and snoring

  • Medications

  • Antidepressants

  • Stress

  • Drinking

  • Smoking

  • Caffeine

  • Recreational drugs

Teeth grinding is common, even children and teenagers suffer, but it usually stops when they reach adulthood and all of their adult teeth have come through.

Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

Here is a common list of signs and symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • headaches

  • cracked or chipped teeth

  • jaw pain

  • ear pain

  • teeth aching

  • loose teeth

  • pain, aching and/or stiffness of the face especially in the morning

  • raised tissue on the inside of the cheek

  • aching or stiffness in the jaws while chewing, particularly during breakfast

  • clenching the jaw when upset, concentrating or worried and anxious

  • indentations on the tongue from your teeth

If you experience some or all of these symptoms, we want to help you stop grinding your teeth! There are solutions that will help you live a healthier, happier life!

Grinding Teeth, How to Stop Grinding Teeth, What causes Teeth Grinding
Teeth Grinding - What is it and how to stop it.

How to Reduce Teeth Grinding

While we highly recommend you have a check-up at our Gympie dental practice to ensure the grinding has not damaged your teeth, there are things you can start doing now to reduce its occurrence.

Try to find ways to reduce your stress and anxiety and focus on being more relaxed. Breathing exercises, listening to soothing music, exercising regularly, and eating well are all good ways to improve your overall health and well-being, which may also help reduce the frequency of teeth grinding.

Create a bedtime routine by going to sleep at the same time every night. Set a few minutes aside beforehand to relax and set up your bedroom so it's dark and quiet.

Teeth grinding can lead to inflammation and pain in your jaw. Use over-the-counter painkillers and an icepack to reduce jaw pain or swelling and book an appointment with your dentist for a check-up and professional advice.

Your dentist may recommend an occlusal splint for teeth grinding, which is a type of mouthguard custom fitted to your teeth.

Occlusal splints may also be referred to as night guards or bite splints.

What is an Occlusal Splint for Teeth Grinding?

Occlusal splints are hard plastic guards that fit over the teeth. It is similar to a sports mouthguard, however, a splint only covers part of the teeth and does not cover the gums.

While a splint may not stop bruxism, it does prevent contact between the upper and lower sets of teeth, so they are not damaged from the grinding motion.

Why You Should Use an Occlusal Splint

Bruxism exposes teeth to excessive wear and tear because it is not a natural chewing movement. If left untreated, grinding can lead to permanent damage to teeth as their layer of protective enamel is worn away and the soft internal parts are exposed.

When directly exposed to the elements, the soft internals of a tooth are vulnerable to infection. Invading bacteria gain easy access to the nerves, and may cause problems and infections. Preventing this painful condition with an occlusal splint is a much more affordable and comfortable treatment.

A splint can protect natural teeth, implants, and crowns from the excessive wear and tear of high-pressure teeth grinding. They can also go a long way towards relieving some of the tension and pain caused by a constantly clenched jaw.

How To Stop Grinding Teeth and What is an Occlusal Splint or Night Guard
Teeth Grinding & Occlusal Splints

How Do You Use an Occlusal Splint?

Follow your dentist's instructions closely when using your night-time mouthguard. Most patients will only need to use it at night or while they sleep if they do shift work. However, a few patients might need to wear their splints during the day if they are experiencing pain and inflammation.

There will be an adjustment phase, as the splint might feel strange at first. It may feel tight, and you could experience increased salivation.

Your teeth may feel like they don't fit together when you remove the splint, but this is a normal sensation that should pass.

Treating teeth grinding with an occlusal splint is an ongoing treatment that will require some adjustments over time.

Caring for Your Occlusal Splint

Most teeth grinding splints will last between 3 and 5 years, which is good value when you consider the damage that grinding does to your teeth. Properly caring for your splint will ensure you get maximum value out of it.

Always remove your splint while eating.

After removing the splint from your mouth, clean it with cold water (never hot) and store it in water or wrap it in a moist paper towel.

A dry splint will feel much tighter than usual and will need to be soaked for 24 hours before you use it again.

Wear your splint regularly.

Dr Mark Cull, Gympie Dentist, Teeth Grinding, Night Guards, Splints, Migraines from Teeth Grinding
Teeth Grinding - Everything You Need To Know

If you neglect it for two weeks or more, you may find that your teeth have shifted positions and the splint no longer fits. In this case, a new splint will need to be made.

Clean the splint in Sterident and cold water for at least an hour each week.

After a few years of use, you may find it has developed a slight discolouration. This is normal, but it's critical that you don't use toothpaste to clean it, as this could loosen its snug fit.

It's always a good idea to bring your Occlusal Splint along to your regular dental check-ups. This way, the dentist can check that everything is going according to plan and your teeth are not suffering any undue wear and tear.

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