Clenching/grinding and Snoring

Bruxism

Clenching Grinding

Some people grind their teeth and clench their jaw muscles during their sleep. This is called Bruxism and is an involuntary habit. Whilst we do not completely understand at present why some people brux and others don’t (although there are many published theories), it is thought that if you are one of these people it could be a lifelong habit. Often individuals are not even aware of this habit as it commonly occurs during sleep. However, over the years the gradual wear of the teeth can lead to serious complications.

Whilst the cause is not known for certain, there are a number of factors that may cause people to grind and clench their teeth:

  • Stress (emotional, physical pain or illness)
  • Breathing problems related to sleep apnoea and reduced airways
  • Malocclusions and changes to your bite
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Personality types (anxious, hyperactive)

Bruxism can cause the following symptoms:

  • Tension headaches, neck and shoulder pain
  • Grinding wears, the teeth down and causes crack teeth and fillings
  • Aching and tender teeth
  • The jaw joint may be sore and/or difficult to open or close, known as trismus or lock jaw
  • Clicking jaw joints

Occlusal Splints

An Occlusal Splint (also known as a night guard), is a slim acrylic removable guard fitted to your upper or lower teeth, and is commonly prescribed as a treatment for bruxism, reducing tooth wear by mechanically protecting the teeth.