Problems caused by teeth grinding and solutions for its prevention
Teeth grinding is a problem that is sometimes ignored, at least until the problem causes significant damage to the person’s teeth. Whilst the grinding of teeth can be portrayed as humourous in cartoons and the like, for a teeth grinder, the consequences can be disastrous.
Teeth grinding, or to give it its medical term, ‘bruxism’, is relatively common and can occur in most of the population from time to time. Although we occasionally may be conscious of it, such as when we are angry with someone, the reality is that, for most of us, the majority of it occurs during sleep. Because of this fact, bruxism is almost impossible to control through willpower alone.
At Beau Monde Dental Care we regularly see the damage which this habit can cause, ranging from the gradual wearing down of the teeth through to complete breakage in extreme cases. This damage can usually be repaired, for example by the use of dental crowns but without a doubt, prevention is much better than cure.
Causes of bruxism
Although there is, as yet, no definitive answer as to what causes bruxism, there are many theories which are gaining increasing weight through studies and research. Of all the possible causes identified, these are some of the main ones:
Stress: Naturally, when we are stressed, we tend to tighten up and not relax. By tightening the jaw muscles, we pull our teeth together and cause them to grind against each other.
Sleep disorders: It is increasingly considered that having a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea is a major cause of bruxism. Along with snoring, tooth grinding is often found in those suffering from this condition. It should also be noted that sleep apnea can have more serious implications for health than dental problems alone and anyone suffering from regular snoring is advised to have this checked out by their doctor.
Smoking and drinking alcohol are thought to be major players in causing bruxism too. This is linked to the above because, rather than causing the problem themselves, they are likely to lead to disturbed sleep patterns and are increasingly thought to play a role in sleep apnea and similar disorders.
Solutions to bruxism
At our Bristol dental practice, we are fortunate to have two people who are fully qualified to fit a device called Somnowell. Both Dr Nicola White and Dr Catherine Spalding are amongst the few people in the UK who are qualified in this.
Somnowell is a device which is worn in the mouth at night and which works to hold the jaw and tongue in a recovery position, preventing the teeth from grinding together. It also works to allow the person’s airflow to be regular and is a great aid in the prevention of snoring.
If you suffer from snoring (or live with someone who does), or suspect that you grind your teeth, the best time to act is now, before any lasting damage is done to your teeth. Through the use of Somnowell, we are able to help you. Simply call us on 0117 330 3495 to discuss an appropriate treatment plan.Google+