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Bruxism - Do You Grind Your Teeth?

Bruxism has been defined as a “habitual clenching and grinding of the teeth”. This occurs most frequently at night time but may occur during the day and is usually involuntary. Bruxism is experienced in both the adult and child population.

There may be many causes of bruxism including:

  • Stress and anxiety
Previous research findings point to the possibility of a link between bruxism and the work environment, especially the coping strategies for work related stressful demands.
  • A change in the way your teeth are meeting (your occlusion) may stimulate a clenching response.
This may be a result of trauma to the neck or jaw (TMJ) or from a filling that is too high causing the teeth to meet differently.
  • Sleep disturbances such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea
Both snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea are a result of a narrowing of the airway while in a lying down position and may stimulate a bruxing response.  Sleep apnoea is a condition resulting in a period of not breathing followed by a gasping for air and can become a life threatening condition when severe.

Effects of Bruxism:

  • Stress and tension develop in the muscles of the face and jaw creating spasm, pain and inflammation.
  • The jaw joint (TMJ) and joint structures may become strained due to the excessive compressive forces of the bruxing / clenching leading to jaw pain and dysfunction.
  • Teeth surfaces may become subject to wear and tear. Your dentist will usually tell you that you are grinding down your teeth.

Treatment of Bruxism:

Treatment for bruxism will often depend on the underlying cause.  A professional assessment is necessary to establish cause and plan a treatment & management strategy.  At Melbourne TMJ & Facial Pain Centre we are experienced in treating bruxism and related conditions. Call us today on 03 98248868 to set up your Assessment Consultation.