Tooth grinding and clenching are called Bruxism. It has many effects on the sufferer, most commonly tooth wear and broken teeth, but one of the most incapacitating effects of bruxism is a migraine or headache. The cause of these symptoms is commonly unrecognised and untreated. Some tooth wear due to tooth grinding can be found in a large number of patients but, luckily, very few will have physical symptoms. Other symptoms can include neck ache, jaw pain and limited mouth opening.
At Burgess Hill Dental we can supply you with a variety of options to help reduce symptoms.
We can provide you with a small well tolerated Sleep Clench Inhibitor (SCi) appliance as shown in the picture. This can only be used for short term use where you have an acute onset of symptoms. Sometimes a simple soft nightguard can be useful and is easy to wear. A more long term and predictable appliance is the Michigan (Stabilisation) Splint. This is a hard plastic that covers all of your top or bottom teeth and creates freedom of movement so that you cannot place stress on the muscles responsible for all of the symptoms. This is very accurately fitting and requires adjusting, as the muscles relax, in order to maintain a stable position for your jaw
Both children and adults can be affected and are most common in adults over 25-year-old. Most people grind and/or clench their teeth occasionally and is usually worse during stressful periods.
Dickon has undertaken many areas of postgraduate training relating to splint therapy and TMJ treatment. He has recently started to use myofascial release therapy to improve pain resulting from fascial restrictions and trigger points. Myofascial release therapy can be used for head, neck and face pain and stiffness, joint clicking, restricted mouth opening, and headaches. In many cases this treatment can make an immense difference to the issues.
Bruxism affects sufferers in many ways, some are short term side effects, but others are more long lasting and debilitating. Often patients will have investigated many other avenues before coming to us for help and can be amazed at the improvements that they can achieve.
Bruxism can be very destructive. Normal chewing and eating do not cause tooth excessive wear or damage to your teeth. Your teeth should last you all your life and not wear down significantly. If you grind your teeth you will be putting your teeth and gums under huge amounts of pressure.
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