Teeth grinding and jaw clenching is often related to stress or anxiety
How do I know if I grind or clench my teeth?
It doesn't always cause symptoms but some people get facial pain and headaches. Grinding or clenching can wear down your teeth over time.
Most people who grind their teeth and clench their jaw aren't often aware they're doing it. It often happens during sleep, while concentrating or under stress.
Symptoms of teeth grinding
Facial pain, headaches and earache
Pain and stiffness in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles
Disrupted sleep (for you or your partner)
Worn-down teeth, which can lead to increased sensitivity and even tooth loss
Broken teeth or fillings
Teeth which can be sore when biting down onto them
When should I see the dentist?
You should see your dentist if you find that you have some of the above symptoms and they will check if you have any evidence of grinding or clenching.
You may need dental treatment if your teeth are worn through grinding to avoid developing further problems.
How do you treat grinding and clenching?
The initial treatment for grinding is by using a mouthguard or splint that reduces the symptoms. They also help to reduce pain, prevent tooth wear and protect against further damage.
Mouthguards and splints even out the pressure across your jaw and create a physical barrier between your teeth to protect them from damage. They can also reduce any grinding noises you make at night.
Mouthguards are similar to those used in sports such as boxing or rugby. They are made from plastic and are custom fitted to your mouth.
A mouth splint is made from harder plastic and fits precisely over your teeth and are longer lasting, meaning that replacements are less frequent.
Other treatments include muscle-relaxation exercises which your dentist can show you at your appointment.