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Home >> Our Blog - Company News and Dental Information >> Rubbing Teeth Together: What Are The Consequences Of Teeth Grinding?

Rubbing Teeth Together: What Are The Consequences Of Teeth Grinding?

19 December 2016

The muscles used for chewing food are considered to be the strongest muscles in the human body, along with the calf muscles. When such muscle strength is used inappropriately, it can actually cause serious damage to teeth. For example, people who are highly emotional or easily agitated quite often have the instinct to squeeze their teeth together resulting in a lot of pressure being placed on the teeth. Why is this dangerous?

What Should You Know About Bruxism? 

Teeth grinding - or bruxism - to give it its’ proper medical term, is usually caused by emotional factors. Sometimes it cannot be controlled, as it often occurs during night-time and when a person is asleep.

Teeth Grinding Bruxism

Bruxism tends to cause tooth enamel to wear off or break and causes damage to teeth, which can cause jaw movement problems and headaches. This problem affects approximately 8-10% of the world’s population, especially people aged from 25 to 44. Even for people who do not experience this problem regularly, from time to time they may manage to rub their teeth together, which can harm the health of the teeth.

On many occasions bruxism can lead to caries, jaw muscle inflammation and temple to lower jaw joint pain. It can also cause a lot of other damage – such as tooth enamel deterioration, gum inflammation, teeth, filling, or crown breakage or fracturing and can even impact dental implants.

If you are certain that this problem has become a regular issue for you, you should advise your dentist. It is particularly important to diagnose and treat bruxism before having dental surgery, restorations or orthodontic treatment.

For example, teeth grinding can cause veneers (thin plates, that are placed on teeth) to not stay attached onto the surface of teeth and fall off. Crowns and dentures are at risk as well – to protect them from damage it is necessary to wear special corrective gear – mouth guard or occlusal splints. Since bruxism mostly occurs during night time, putting on a mouth guard before sleep is necessary in such cases (night guard).

What Causes Bruxism?

The main causes of bruxism are:

  • Lack of sleep and sleep disorders
  • Lifestyle: factors such as youth, a high level of education, psychoactive substance use, which can increase excitability and cause sleep disturbances (tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, antidepressants, etc.)
  • Adverse psychological factors: stress, anxiety

Symptoms of bruxism:

  • Rhythmical jaw muscle tightening
  • Teeth grinding while asleep (which sometimes disturbs the person sleeping next to you)
  • Cracking in temple – lower jaw muscle
  • Swollen lower jaw and jaw movement problems
  • Pain in the face muscles
  • Earaches and headaches

How to Stop Teeth Grinding

Use Mouth Guard To Prevent Teeth Grinding Bruxism

If your dentist has diagnosed bruxism, you must get an occlusal splint or mouth guard. These special dentistry devices will protect your teeth when they are being forcefully rubbed together, preventing premature tooth decay and possible damage to teeth.

A mouth guard will help protect your jaw joints from excessive tension and will let you control the effects of bruxism, not allowing the teeth to be squeezed together during muscle spasms at night. Mouth guards or splints are custom made for each person individually, so wearing them does not cause discomfort and does not interfere with your sleep. In many cases, they are just worn at night and taken out in the morning (night guard).

However, it is not possible to cure bruxism with the use of a mouth guard. Your doctor will be able to recommend other methods for you in order to reduce teeth grinding. For example, positive results in treating bruxism have been shown from progressive relaxation, meditation and psychotherapy.

Reduce and Control Teeth Grinding

Last, but not least, it is important to normalise sleeping and resting habits and to look over your daily habits and routine (e.g. quit smoking, reduce caffeine intake and alcohol consumption), and try to control yourself by doing autogenic exercises before going to bed (e.g. say to yourself “I will wake up if I start grinding my teeth”).

In any case, it is not advised to try to resolve problems with bruxism on your own, but to have a consultation with a dental professional who will do a complex exam and diagnose the issue, and will be able to provide you with the most effective method of treatment. Following all the recommendations will provide a much greater possibility of avoiding bruxism related problems.


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