Bruxism and Teeth Grinding

How Mola Dental can help with teeth grinding and bruxism

When you come to Mola Dental for a full mouth examination, we look for signs of bruxism, such as worn-down teeth. We want to ensure you’re not subconsciously grinding your teeth, so we’re looking for flat-tipped teeth with no differentiation or levels between teeth, as this is a sign you could be grinding the tips away.

Initially, if we find you are grinding your teeth, our first port of call is to deal with the cause. Typically, stress is the cause of teeth grinding, so we’ll suggest some ways to try and stop bruxism at
the source. Additionally, you can try things such as adopting a soft diet and simple jaw exercises that can help identify if it is an acute issue. To solve bruxism in its mildest form, we can look into providing splints and/or botulinum toxin to prevent further damage and then restore the teeth with composite bonding. In more severe cases where a lot of tooth structure has been worn away, ceramic crowns may be needed.

What is bruxism

Bruxism (commonly known as teeth grinding) is one of the most common oral habits. Bruxism is when you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth. This can occur during the day or at night whilst you sleep. We all do it at times; it’s just whether we do it enough for it to manifest itself as symptoms. Bruxing can increase sensitivity, impact self-confidence and your facial profile. The symptoms of bruxism include:
  • Jaw pain
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Headaches
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Sensitive jaw
Sometimes, patients don’t have the symptoms but show the signs of “Attritional Tooth Wear”, as demonstrated in the images below. Even if you show no symptoms but show signs of teeth wear you may be bruxing and not even know it and the damage can be quite severe.

Causes of teeth grinding

Teeth grinding is most often linked to stress or anxiety; however, there are more causes, including sleep problems (like snoring or sleep apnoea), taking certain medicines, smoking, drinking excessive alcohol and taking drugs like ecstasy and cocaine. It’s common for children and teenagers to grind their teeth during sleep, but typically this stops when they reach adulthood, and their adult teeth come through.

Splints for teeth grinding and bruxism

We can suggest two types of splints to help stop you from grinding your teeth – a soft splint that acts as a shock absorber or a hard splint that tries to reprogramme your habit. A hard splint creates a slippy surface that doesn’t allow you to get a purchase – stopping you from grinding your teeth.
The next line of intervention would be to try botulinum toxin (commonly known as Botox), as this can temporarily paralyse the muscle, dampening the nerve signals. Botulinum toxin will help the severity and can help you stop the habit for 3-4 months. Contrary to belief, botulinum toxin isn’t just a cosmetic treatment, you will still have a complete range of motion, and your face won’t look frozen.

If we exhaust all the interventions mentioned above, we can refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgery department to prescribe medication to solve the problem. 

Do you feel like you’re grinding your teeth? Book an appointment for us to investigate and discuss solutions.

Close up of female mouth with retractor. Doctor flossing the teeth

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