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Tooth grinding and clenching

Treatment for Muscle Pain, TMJ Dysfunction, Clenching and Grinding

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.

1-teeth-grinding-pageAt 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.

Effects of Bruxism

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.

Short-term effects and symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Headaches and Migraines – Especially pain behind the eyes or forehaed
  • Facial myalgia (aching jaw & facial muscles) – Often diagnosed as Atypical Facial Pain
  • Ear ache
  • Tinnitus
  • Sinus pains
  • Stiff neck and shoulders
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Poor Sleep Quality
  • Sleep disturbance of bed partner due to noise from tooth grinding. Nails on a blackboard noise!
  • Tooth mobility and tooth loss
  • Fractured tooth cusps and broken fillings
  • Receding and inflamed gums
  • Tongue Scalloping

Long-term effects of bruxism include:

  • Prolonged untreated migraines
  • Excessive facial muscle tone. Square face
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (sometimes called TMJD,TMD or TMJ)
  • Tooth grinding and clenching
  • Treatment for the pain caused by teeth clenching and grinding
  • Clicking or popping jaw joint
  • Severe and accelerating tooth wear and ultimately tooth loss

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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Burgess Hill Dental Care, 75 Station Rd, Burgess Hill RH15 9DY, United Kingdom info@burgesshilldental.co.uk 01444 233454 Call us on: 01444 233454