Do you ever hear yourself or a family member grinding their teeth?
Are you waking up with a headache, sore face, tender jaw, neck pain, pain near your ear?
Are you cracking or chipping teeth regularly?
Are you hearing clicking or grating sounds from your jaw when you eat?
Do your teeth show signs of excessive wear?
It is highly likely that you are clenching or grinding your teeth during your sleep or even during the day. People can do this without being aware of it during both the day and night. The cause of grinding and gnashing is not completely agreed upon however there is usually an element of stress involved or life is particularly busy or you are concentrating on a particular task at that time. Eg driving or working on a computer.
What can you do about this? Firstly be aware of your habit. Remember that it is not normal to rest with our teeth clenched together and even when we eat there is food cushioned between the teeth so they are not normally in contact.
It’s important to stop grinding to reduce pain, and prevent permanent damage to teeth.
To help relieve pain apply ice packs to sore jaw muscles. Massage the muscles of the neck, shoulder and face. Relax your face and jaw muscles throughout the day. Try to reduce your daily stress and learn relaxation techniques.
Find a remedial massage therapist who has a good understanding of trigger point therapy, neuromuscular therapy and remedial massage.
It is best to see a dentist who has a good understanding of teeth grinding and is familiar with the construction of customized occlusal bite splints. Worn at night, the splint is an individually made mould of plastic resin that fits over the upper teeth, preventing the teeth from touching. A splint can also be designed to keep your jaw in a more relaxed position when you sleep.