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Improve symptoms associated with grinding

Whether it is an involuntary action or just a bad habit, grinding your teeth (bruxism) can lead to serious complications. Unfortunately, for a majority of cases, bruxism occurs as a subconscious act whilst people are sleeping.

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Why does bruxism occur?

There are multiple factors which can lead to teeth grinding. If patients suffer from an abnormal bite, where the teeth do not come together properly or you have crooked or missing teeth, this can lead to bruxism.

Some psychotropic drugs which alter people’s moods, such as antidepressants or/psychotics, have a side effect of bruxism. Similarly, people who smoke or drink excessively or take drugs can develop bruxism.

People who experience lifestyle stressors account for the majority of bruxism cases. Anxiety from work or at home can manifest itself subconsciously through bruxism when the person is sleeping. Continued teeth grinding wears away the enamel on your teeth and can lead to permanent damage.

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What are the symptoms?

Short term – Earache, stiffness/tightness in the shoulders, facial muscle ache, jaw ache and headaches

Long term – Worn/cracked teeth, teeth sensitivity and temporomandibular joint disorder (discomfort and stiffness in the jaw)

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What can be done to help?

There are several ways to control the effects of bruxism. Bite guards are commonly used and vary in shape and material depending on the individual situation. Some can only be worn during the night to prevent grinding, others can be worn during the day as well. However, some individuals may require further treatment.

A soft bite guard, similar to the ones used by sportsmen and women, is a flexible rubber shield that covers the teeth to prevent tooth wear when grinding. Stabilisation splints are made out of hard acrylic and are specifically made to fit over your upper or lower teeth to not only protect the teeth but relax the muscles that cause teeth grinding.

Botulinum Toxin is another safe and effective way to reduce clenching and grinding by relaxing the muscles that cause it. Results normally last between 3-6 months and can take up to 2 weeks to begin working.

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