Do you grind your teeth when you're asleep, when you feel angry or stressed, when you're concentrating or at other times? You're not alone – around 5% of Australians forcefully grind or clench their teeth regularly out of habit, a condition known as bruxism.
If you think that you or someone in your family might have bruxism, talk to your dentist or another health professional. They'll discuss your symptoms and treatment options that could help you to stop grinding for good.
People may grind their teeth for a number of reasons. Knowing the likely cause of your bruxism will help your dentist or doctor to recommend the most suitable treatments.
Some people grind their teeth when they feel stressed or angry, so trying to avoid these situations or learning to recognise when you're doing it could help to prevent grinding. There may also be a physical cause for bruxism, such as teeth not fitting together properly.
Lifestyle factors can also influence bruxism, including alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and drug use. Bruxism may sometimes be related to other health problems, such as a sleep disorder or TMJ dysfunction.
Teeth grinding sometimes goes away on its own, especially with children, but it's important to talk to a dentist or health professional to find out if your condition is more serious.
As bruxism can be a complex issue, sometimes a range of treatments may be needed. These may include:
Avoiding stimulants and addictive substances and trying to get into a regular sleep pattern could help you to sleep more soundly and prevent teeth grinding at night. If bruxism is caused by emotional stimuli, trying to avoid stressful situations or being more mindful of when you're grinding and clenching your teeth could help you to stop.
If you grind your teeth when you feel angry, stressed or in other situations, you may be referred to counselling services or other types of therapy. You may also be recommended relaxation techniques such as meditation, if you think these could be helpful.
Some people grind their teeth due to problems with muscles or joints in the jaw. Your doctor may recommend medication such as muscle relaxants or treatments to help address these problems.
Bruxism may occur if teeth don't fit together properly. Your dentist can discuss treatments to correct these issues, which may involve lengthening short teeth with crowns, reducing oversized fillings, or orthodontics to help correct crooked teeth or a misaligned bite.
They will also recommend fixing any damage caused by teeth grinding, such as worn down or damaged teeth and restorations such as fillings.
If you grind your teeth at night, your dentist may provide you with a custom-fitted mouthguard called an occlusal splint or night guard. This prevents your teeth from touching, to avoid further damage and ease bruxism symptoms, but it may not treat the cause.
To find out more about bruxism treatments or to speak to a dentist in Sydney about any other issue, get in touch with Sydney CBD Dental today.
 Better Health Channel. Teeth grinding [Online] 2018 [Accessed December 2018] Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/teeth-grinding
 Healthdirect. Teeth grinding [Online] 2018 [Accessed December 2018] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/teeth-grinding
 Australian Dental Association. Teeth Grinding [Online] 2016 [Accessed December 2018] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Older-Adults-65/Teeth-Grinding