Teeth grinding is consciously or unconsciously sliding of teeth and molars over each other, so hard that a grinding noise is created. Teeth grinding often happens unconsciously during sleep. The person himself doesn’t notice it, but it can keep others from sleep. And if the grinding is intense and persistent, it can damage the teeth and cause pain.
There is no immediate cause for teeth grinding. Studies show that multiple factors can play a role, such as:
People with this condition can literally grind their teeth all night without noticing it. Therefore, it is difficult to recognize. The partner or dentist often notices it first and the patient himself often finds out when he or she has a sore jaw or headache, neck pain or shoulder pain. The most common signs and symptoms of teeth grinding are:
In addition, people who grind teeth are often tense and often have stress in their lives, they often have a tendency to bite on anything during the day, for example a pen, nails or hair.
The dentist will determine whether the dental damage is indeed caused by teeth grinding. This is based on a description of the symptoms and examination of the teeth.
There are several options for treatment of teeth grinding. In order to save teeth and molars, the dentist can make a plastic dental guard that protects teeth and relieves the jaw muscles. This dental guard is worn at night. The cause of the problem, teeth grinding, however, is not combated. With the guard there is only tried to prevent further wear. Unfortunately, this doesn't always succeed and sometimes it can even have a counterproductive effect.
In order to counter teeth grinding, there are several therapies, such as stretching exercises, friction massages and behavioral therapy. Relaxation seems to help. People seem to grind especially in a lighter sleep phase. By doing relaxation exercises before bedtime, sleep deepens, causing less grinding. Also with medication is attempted to rid people of teeth grinding. There are muscle relaxants, but this is mostly still in an experimental phase.
Teeth grinding is no serious condition, but is often present for years. Without treatment, it can cause permanent damage to the teeth and chronic jaw pain. However, the behavior that leads to teeth grinding can only be changed if the underlying cause is found and addressed.