Grinding and clenching of the teeth – guards and correcting the root causes
Grinding of the teeth, called bruxism, presents a very common problem. Around 30% of all people grind or clench their teeth, and these can be divided into the two categories of sleep bruxism and waking bruxism. The causes of teeth grinding are usually psychological: stress, anger, unresolved problems, and worry. However, sometimes an incorrect bite pattern, jaw misalignment, or fillings or crowns that are too high can also be the cause.
The effects of tooth grinding and jaw clenching are wide-reaching: pain in the jaw (often after waking in the morning), head and ear pain, muscle tension in the neck and throat, and ablation of the teeth leading to hot and cold sensitivity and stress on the periodontium.
Custom mouth guards
As an immediate form of relief, mouth guards (night guards) can be used. These are hard or soft plastic pieces that are placed over the teeth on the jaw. We make dental casts of your upper and lower jaw to create a custom guard with the help of a dental technician. Over the long term, though, misaligned teeth should be corrected if they are at the root of the problem.
As a general matter it is advisable to treat the cause of bruxism in addition to using a mouth guard. Often an interdisciplinary treatment with a physiotherapist, osteopath, psychologist, or oral and facial surgeon is necessary and complements conventional treatments. This can be discussed during a consultation after the diagnosis.
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