Bruxism is the clenching or grinding of your teeth, often while you sleep. When clenching you tightly clamp your top and bottom teeth together, often the back teeth. Cleanching places pressure on your muscles and tissue. Often times people who clench also grind their teeth as well. Grinding is the sliding or rubbing of your teeth, back and forth.
The question is why does a person grind their teeth? These are the general common causes
1. You are experiencing chronic pain - For example, you could have a painful nerve in your foot, a compressed inflamed disc in your spine, or a painful osteoarthritic hip.
2. Difficulties breathing - This could be from different factors such as sleep apnoea or an obstructed nasal passage.
3. General anxiety- Sometimes where are conscious of our anxiety, other times we are not. General life events such as divorce, jobs, relationships and other obstacles can cause your anxieties.
4. A combination of the above
What are the side effects of teeth grinding and clenching (Bruxism)? Short term effects
1. Regular headaches and migraines
2. Facial Myalgia - aching jaw and facial muscles
3. Ear aches and Tinnitus - ringing or buzzing in the ears
4. Sinus pain
5. Stiff neck and shoulders
6. Over tired and disruption to sleeping partners
7. Tooth mobility wear
8. Tongue scalloping - wavy or rippled tongue edges which can be swollen or inflamed
9. Receding and inflamed gums
Long term effects
1. Prolonged migraines
2. Excessive facial muscle tone
3. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (sometimes called TMJD or just TMJ)
4. Clicking or popping jaw joint
5. Tooth weal and loss
Dental splints are designed to maximise function and your ability to breathe. The splints are specially designed for you and are worn during the day and/or night, depending on each case. Treatment periods last from 3 to 6 months but can continue on longer if you require other treatments to improve your symptoms or such as orthodontics (metallic braces, ceramic clear braces, removable appliances, functional appliances, Invisalign) or cosmetic dentistry (crowns, porcelain veneers).