Did you know that up to 31% of the population either grinds or clenches their teeth, at varying stages throughout life?
It is hardly a surprise for Dentists, as we see evidence of grinding and/or clenching in more and more patients.
The commonly held belief is that grinding or clenching is a response to increased psychological stress. Whilst there might be some truth to this, it does not quite match up with most people we diagnose as clenches or grinders.
The more accepted belief is that these bad habits are ‘centrally mediated’ – essentially, there is a part of your brain that is responsible for it, for no apparent reason. Dentists have tried throughout the decades to come up with a treatment to stop people from grinding and clenching, unfortunately with limited success to date.
Interestingly, new research has proved a strong link between sleep apneoa and teeth grinding.
Modern treatment is aimed at not stopping grinding and clenching, but rather it is a means of damage limitation. There are many different types of plastic splint designs available, each targeting and protecting specific part of the chewing system (e.g. the teeth, the jaw joints, or the muscles).
The fascinating thing about grinding or clenching is that most people are not even aware that they may be doing it. It often happens during sleep, and if you are clenching, for example, then there would be little sound or movement produced, and often our partners are also oblivious. Other times, it is less subtle, and patients are wholly aware of these habits.
What are the signs grinding and clenching?
– Headaches and neck pain
– Sore muscles around your jaw joint
– Clicking joints with or without pain
– Jagged, worn edges of teeth
– Breaking off bits of tooth, fillings or crowns
– Cracked teeth causing pain or sensitivity
If you suspect you may be a grinder or clencher, speak to Dr Jaz as he has travelled the world to attend seminars and workshops to better cater for patients who clench and grind.
About Jaz Gulati
Private Dentist and Geek
Triangle Dental (Tilehurst) and The Richmond Dentist (West London)
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