Bruxism – is the excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw

What are the causes of bruxism and clenching?

There are many factors that can lead to grinding and clenching of teeth. It can often be a combination of factors such as missing teeth, over erupted teeth, heavily filled teeth, poor bite or stress.

What damage is caused by grinding and clenching of the teeth?

The teeth are generally only in contact when eating. Grinding and clenching means that there is much more contact of the teeth for long periods which lead to increased wear, increasing likelihood of fracture of the teeth and even loosening of the teeth if gum disease is present. If you have more complex fillings, veneers, crowns, bridges and implant retained crowns and bridges. Bruxism or clenching is more likely to cause early failure of these restorations. Headaches and Migraines are also associated with bruxism due to muscle tiredness and build up of muscle toxins.

What can we do to help with bruxism and clenching?

We can make a custom made night guard made of hard plastic which fits snugly on the teeth. It can either be worn on the lower or upper jaws. The night guard protects the teeth from grinding and clenching and can help stop it so the guard can be phased out.