If you ever wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or headache, you may be clenching and grinding. Grinding is an involuntary movement of the teeth against each other; whereas, clenching is clamping the teeth tightly shut. When the mouth is resting, the top and bottom teeth should not be in contact. Clenching and grinding can commonly occur if you’re busier or more stressed than usual. More commonly people clench and grind at night and can be completely unaware they are doing it.
Signs of Clenching and Grinding:
- Waking up with a headache around the temples and/or a sore jaw in the morning
- Sore teeth along one or both sides of the mouth (these can be sensitive to hot and cold too)
- Your teeth are looking flatter/wider than usual and/or chipping along the edges
- Your tongue has a scalloped outline
- Your face shape has gotten wider/more muscular around the jaw
What can I do if I’m Clenching And/Or Grinding My Teeth?
- Be mindful of when you might be clenching and grinding and remind yourself to relax your jaw
- Place the tip of your tongue at the top of mouth – You are unable to clench and grind when you do this
- Try and reduce stress
- Call us to make an appointment to discuss a splint with the dentist
What not to do when clenching/grinding your teeth
- Wear a mouthguard to prevent clenching and grinding – the elasticity of the mouthguard material will activate your muscles even more and make your clenching and grinding habit worse
- Not consult your dentist. Wearing the teeth down over time can expose the underlying tooth structure and nerves in the teeth. After this happens, it is a very costly and time-consuming process to restore all of the teeth. Prevention is key!
What is a Splint?
A splint is a custom acrylic removable guard that sits on the teeth at night. It works by protecting the teeth from wearing down, reduces the amount of force the jaw muscles can make, and opens up the jaw joint to prevent trauma to the joint capsule. Our team has many tips and tricks to help you get used to wearing your splint at night.
If you think you are clenching and grinding, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 02 4324 1181.