Our Upper and Lower teeth should only come in contact when chewing or swallowing. If it is happening any other time, it is called clenching or grinding of teeth which is also termed as  Bruxism.

Almost 50% of adults & 30% of children have the clenching and grinding habit. It may happen at night or during the day.

If it is happening at night you may not be aware of it.

 

Signs & Symptoms

  1. Wear on the chewing surface of the teeth
  2. Broken/Cracked teeth or fillings
  3. Partner/Parents may hear the grinding sound at night
  4. Dull headache , Jaw muscles ache or tightness , trouble opening mouth wider

Causes

  1. Stress
  2. Illness
  3. Dehydration
  4. Teething in babies
  5. Bad teeth alignment
  6. Concentration

Treatment

To prevent wear or cracks on the teeth an Occlusal Splint (Night Guard) is recommended. In addition Physiotherapy or Hypnotherapy may be helpful adjuncts. Counselling for stress, reduction of caffeine and nicotine  may also assist.

If a patient has sleep apnoea, this requires special investigations prior to proceeding with bruxism treatment.