Bruxism or teeth grinding is a relatively common sleep disorder but can have devastating effects on your teeth and jaw. Because of the fact that it happens subconsciously, it is relatively difficult to treat. A teeth grinding splint is an excellent way to manage the side effects of bruxism. In this article, we are going to explain the benefits of occlusal splints and how they can safeguard you against some of the risks of bruxism.

 

What Is Bruxism And Why Does It Happen?

In some people, teeth grinding is believed to be the result of anxiety and stress. In others, conditions like obstructive sleep apnoea, crooked teeth, and a misaligned bite are thought to be contributing factors.

 

 

What Are The Signs Of Teeth Grinding?

Because you are asleep when you’re grinding your teeth, it’s possible to happen for a while unless it is picked up by your bed partner. Some people may exhibit signs like

  • A morning headache
  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty opening or closing your jaw
  • Wear and tear on your teeth

 

What Are The Risks Of Teeth Grinding?

If it is not picked up early enough, excessive grinding can cause a lot of damage to your teeth. The consequence is that chewing food can become uncomfortable.

Teeth grinding can cause dental implants to loosen, and destabilise bridges, dental crowns and root canals. It can cause pain in the jaw and contribute to temporomandibular joint disorders over time. Ultimately, it compromises your quality of life.

 

How Can A Teeth Grinding Splint Help?

It may take some time to get to the root cause of your bruxism but it’s important to protect your teeth during the process. Also known as a night guard or occlusal splint, a teeth grinding splint is a physical barrier that is placed in your mouth, to stop your top and lower jaws from grinding together at night.

The most effective occlusal splints are those that are customised for the contours of your mouth. Getting the right fit means that the joints, muscles, and bones that would be affected by grinding are given a chance to rest at night when you sleep.

 

The benefits of night guards

  • Occlusal splints save you from needing costly restorations and repairs to your teeth, preserving the functionality of your natural teeth. They help you to avoid chips, cracks and fractures to your teeth while grinding
  • Wearing a night guard relieves the pressure on your jaw and can safeguard you against jaw pain, temporomandibular joint disorders, and morning tension headaches
  • Protect veneers, implants, bridgework, and orthodontic braces with a dental splint
  • Occlusal splints are custom-made for the size and shape of your mouth and teeth and offer an excellent level of protection when compared to store-bought mouthguards

 

Other Ideas To Manage Teeth Grinding

 

Manage the source of your stress

If you are very anxious or stressed out, you also need to think about managing it. Speak to your general practitioner or dentist about treatment options that could work for you. There is a range of solutions that could be explored including physical exercise, meditation, cognitive behavioural therapy, and muscle relaxants.

 

Treat sleep disorders

If you are grinding your teeth as the result of a sleep disorder, make sure you treat it.

 

Improve your sleep health

Getting into a healthy sleep routine may help you to manage teeth grinding. Here are some ideas:

  • Become more conscious of your behaviour during the day. If you find yourself clenching your jaw while you’re awake, in response to stress, become aware of it and train yourself to relax those muscles. Practice pushing the tip of your tongue through your pursed lips when you feel tension creeping into your jaw. occlusal splint bruxism melbourne
  • Don’t allow yourself to chew anything that is not food. Work on quitting habits like chewing on the ends of pencils or your fingernails. Stop chewing gum when you are awake too.
  • Reduce your intake of sugar and caffeine, especially later in the day. These foods have a stimulating effect on your body and can affect you many hours after consuming them.
  • Reduce or quit drinking alcohol as it has been found to exacerbate teeth grinding. 
  • Make a conscious effort to relax before you go to sleep at night. Experiment with different activities until you find the right mix for your bedtime routine. 
  • Consider taking a hot bath to relax your muscles
  • Meditate 
  • Do a gentle yoga sequence.
  • Switch your TV and phone off a few hours before it’s bedtime and read a book instead
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night.

 

Getting A Night Guard: What To Expect

Occlusal splints are usually completed in two visits. During your first visit, an impression of your teeth is created. It is then sent off to a laboratory so the dental splint to be made. When it is ready you will return for your fitting. Once this is done, all you need to do is make sure you wear it every night before bed.

Protecting your mouth and teeth against the damage that teeth grinding can cause is essential while you work on what is causing it. Wearing a dental splint can safeguard your jaw, muscles, teeth, and bone against the force of grinding. It can preserve dental restorations and cosmetic dentistry and help you to get better quality sleep.

To find out more about fitting a teeth grinding splint, or for help with sleep disorders, please give us a call:

Footscray: (03) 9068 5357
Niddrie: (03) 9068 5316
Caulfield North:(03) 9068 5355

 

 

 

 

References

Dental Health and Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/teeth-grinding-bruxism

6+ Remedies for Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-grinding-teeth

 

 

 

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