Teeth Grinding Problems

Do you grind your teeth? Did you know that you could be damaging not only your teeth but your jaw, the muscles around your head and neck and even having an impact further afield in your body?

Grinding your teeth, known as bruxism will wear the teeth down unnecessarily fast which could lead to sensitive teeth or even having to have the teeth root filled and crowned if the grinding continues. These habits can also weaken teeth and cause chipping and wearing. If left untreated, teeth grinding can lead to an eventual breakdown of the teeth, jaw pain, headaches, loss of sleep, and other TMJ disorders

What is bruxism?

If you grind or clench your teeth either at night or during the day then you would be considered a bruxist. Even if you do not do this intentionally you can still end up damaging your teeth, gums and surrounding jaw area, bruxism can be caused by stress, hyper-activeness, or a misalignment of the teeth or jaw. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching can cause varying degrees of pain and discomfort.

How can I prevent grinding my teeth?

There are a few options to prevent bruxism.

MCI

This is a small dental device worn to help restore your bite. It is similar in nature to a small orthodontic appliance and will help to suppress muscle dysfunction. It does not move your teeth and simply works to reprogram the way you would draw bytes together.

Your jaw is not actually a precise hinge joint, in other words what ensures that your jaw moves in the same position each time you close your mouth is the attention of your muscles on the jaw. If you are particularly stressed these muscles can tighten and move the way your jaw bites together, this can result in bruxism. The MCI device will simply reprogram these muscles and allow your jaw to open and close in a more natural and relaxed way.

Occlusal Splint or Mouthguard

An occlusal splint works in very much the same way as an MCI device. If we prevent your teeth from touching each other then the muscle memory in your jaw relaxes, once this happens these muscles can be reprogrammed without the stress in them. This can reduce headaches and help to overcome grinding your teeth.

These mouth guards are to be worn at night, during sleep to prevent the pain and discomfort associated with nocturnal bruxism.

How are these dental appliances made?

The anti-grinding appliances are made by a skilled dental technician. The process starts with a dental impression or mould taken of your teeth. We will take a mould of the upper and lower teeth so that the technician has an exact replica of your teeth. We will then take precise measurements of the way that your jaw moves, taking into account the tension in your muscles.

This will allow the technician to ‘articulate’ your upper and lower jaw in the laboratory to the correct relationship and create the device which will reprogram your jaw muscles.

It will normally take between two and three weeks between the dental impression and fitting of your new appliance.

Looking after an appliance

You should wear your appliance for as long as instructed by your dentist. Sometimes this could be at night only, and in some cases it is permanently. Whenever you clean your appliance we recommend you do this over a sink half filled with water. This means that if you drop your appliance it will not crack when it hits the hard surface of the sink.

If you leave your appliance out we also recommend that you keep it wet, some of the plastics can dry out if out of your mouth which can cause them to crack.