Bruxism Treatment | Grinding of Teeth In Sleep
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Bruxism Treatment - Grinding of Teeth In Sleep

Teeth in pain due to grinding


What is Grinding/Bruxism?


Bruxism is the clenching or grinding of teeth, or both simultaneously. It often happens during sleep but it can also occur when you are conscious. Most people are unaware of this habit.



What causes bruxism?


Bruxism is correlated with stress, anxiety and poor sleep quality. Driven and motivated personality types are more likely to suffer from bruxism. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has classified sleep bruxism as a type of sleep movement disorder, similar to sleep walking.



Bruxism is also associated with obstructive sleep apnea as well as upper airway resistance syndrome, and is common in patients who breathe through their mouth and snore.



Patients with nocturnal gastric reflux are also at risk. Gastric acid softens the tooth surface and accelerates the rate of tooth wear.



14%-17% of children may grind their teeth. This persists into adulthood in about 8% of cases. 20%-50% of bruxers have a family history of bruxism.



What damage does bruxism cause?


Over time, bruxism wears away the surface of the teeth causing disfigurement of the teeth and the bite. If you have worn teeth, you may be prone to:


  • Sensitive teeth
  • Hairline cracks
  • Tooth fractures
  • Frequent breakage and accelerated wear of fillings and crowns
  • Implant loosening/breakage
  • Frequent headaches
  • Ear ache
  • Jaw pain
  • Facial and neck pain
  • Overgrowth of jaw muscles leading to a square jawed appearance

Hairline Cracks 



Worn enamel from repeated grinding of teeth 

Treatments for Bruxism





Dental Orthotic


The most common method to manage the effects of bruxism is the use of a custom-fitted mouth guard during sleep. The mouth guard helps protect your teeth from being worn down even more and distributes the grinding force over the plastic surface. Patients with severe bruxism may even wear through the mouthguard in a matter of months.



In some instances, orthodontic treatment may help to reduce the harmful effects of bruxism by creating a balanced bite with well aligned teeth ensuring that forces are distributed evenly.



Patients with suspected sleep or airway issues should be assessed urgently by a sleep physician or ENT specialist.



Patients with gastric reflux should also be managed by a GP or gastroenterologist.



Botox injected into the masseter muscles  or temporal jaw muscles can help reduce pain from recurrent headaches caused by bruxism. Botox also weakens the muscles so that less tension can be generated which also makes the grinding less severe.



Teeth that have been excessively damaged by grinding can be restored with crowns and/or onlays, to restore the tooth to a healthy state.





Snoring - Has anyone ever mentioned you snore loudly?

Tired - Do you often feel tired, fatigued or sleepy during the daytime?
Observation - Has anyone ever observed you stop breathing during your sleep?
Blood Pressure - Have you got high blood pressure?
BMI - Are you overweight?
Age - Are you over 50 years old?
Neck - Is your neck circumference greater than 40cm?
Gender - Are you male?


Do you feel refreshed when you wake after 7 hours sleep?

Has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Have you been diagnosed or are you being treated for depression?
Have you been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?
Do you wake often during the night to go to the bathroom?
Do you suffer with headaches upon waking?


For each situation listed below, circle a number from 0 to 3 that best reflects how likely you are to fall asleep. Be as realistic as you can.

0 – No chance of falling asleep 1 – Slight chance of falling asleep     2 –Good Chance of falling asleep 3 – High chance of falling asleep

Sitting and reading
Watching TV
As a passenger in a car for an hour
Lying down in the afternoon
Sitting and talking to someone
Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol
In a car stopped while in traffic

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