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Tooth Clenching

Patient education : Teeth clenching
Bruxism is the Latin word for unconscious grinding of the teeth.
Bruxism refers to the unconscious grinding of your teeth and clenching of the jaw, usually at night during sleep. However, it can also occur during the day.
This habit causes the teeth to be worn down and eroded. Over-stressing of the perodontium and damage to the jaw joint can also occur. This can lead to severe pain syndromes affecting the face and tinnitus. Other common clinical symptoms are vertigo, impaired vision and nausea.

Often, the grinder’s partner wakes up at night because of the noise created by the grinding of teeth, which sounds similar to loud snoring. Initially, the grinder notices little, if anything, especially as it predominantly occurs while you sleep.. Some patients complain of jaw muscle pain, or muscle ache, usually in the morning.

If there is evidence of teeth grinding and jaw clenching (witnessed by a partner, muscle aches or other evidence of grinding) a visit to the dentist is warranted. A protective anti-grinding guard can help prevent damage to the teeth and chewing muscles. In addition, anti-stress training can be employed. Psychotherapy is usually very helpful.

Even though many people never fully stop grinding their teeth, most learn to deal with it very effectively and use the protective guard at night when needed (in times of job or relationship stress, for example). The protective guard acts like a washer and stops the teeth from eroding and wearing each other down. Depending on the severity of the bruxism, the guard should last between 2-5 years and can be easily replaced.