Bruxism is a nocturnal habit where sufferers clench or grind their teeth. It can be quite noisy and may cause a range of unpleasant symptoms. People with bruxism or who suspect they may have this habit should seek a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible, as untreated bruxism can damage the teeth, gums and jaw joints. The pain caused by this condition can also spread to other facial structures, causing neck and shoulder pain and even chronic headaches.

What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?

If you have bruxism you may wake up with a sore and aching jaw or a persistent headache that is difficult to get rid of. Teeth grinding and clenching can also result in increased tooth sensitivity due to damage to the tooth enamel. It can also wear down teeth so they may look shorter than before and it’s possible for bruxism to cause gum recession. Opening or closing your mouth may be painful or you could notice that your jaw makes a clicking or popping sound.

Diagnosing and Treating Bruxism

Our dentist here at Central Maitland Dentistry can soon diagnose if you have bruxism and will recommend the most appropriate treatment. This may be as straightforward as wearing a comfortable, custom-made occlusal splint that will prevent your teeth from contacting, helping your jaw to relax during sleep. Some people may find wearing an occlusal splint will soon break the habit of bruxism, while others will need to wear their splint for the longer term to protect their teeth and dental health.

Bruxism can sometimes be related to high stress levels, so it can be worth taking action to consciously relax, particularly before bedtime. It may also be helpful to consciously relax your jaw during the day to help break this habit.