teeth grinding advice Staffordshire dentist

Nocturnal Tooth Grinding

Medically known as bruxism, many people grind and/or clench their teeth without problem. However, a large number suffer severe symptoms, ranging from headaches to painful jaw and neck ache.  It can also lead to fracturing of filled teeth and premature wear of virgin teeth.  I can honestly say that Bruxism is the single biggest worry I have for my patients as it is so rarely recognised and it can be very difficult to manage.



Whilst bruxism can occur during waking hours, nearly 80% of cases happen subconsciously during sleep and are typically associated with stress and/or anxiety.

Involving some of your most powerful muscles, studies have shown that during sleep, patients can exert 20% more pressure than is possible whilst awake – with severe consequences for the sufferer.

However, with symptoms not always involving the teeth, often there is little awareness that bruxism may be the cause of such painful symptoms.

1. Do you wake up with headaches?
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2. Does your jaw ache on waking or after a meal?
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We highly recommend that persistent headaches are investigated by your Doctor, but one cause can be Bruxism – the muscles go into spasm when they are overworked and then cramp up causing pain.  This is interpreted by the body as a head ache.

3. Do you seem to visit the dentist for broken teeth on a regular basis?
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Filed teeth can break when people grind on them

4. Are your teeth wearing down and/or have you noticed notches appearing around the necks of your teeth?

Filed teeth can break when people grind on them

Filed teeth are weaker and will often break if they are being bashed about whilst you sleep. Premature wear and chipping of teeth is often down to grinding and (we think) that the pressures can cause flexure at the necks of your teeth leading to abfraction lesions , wedge shaped notches that can be sensitive.

Pain from grinding can be pretty severe but generally it is around a 4-5 out of 10 on the pain scale.  The pain tends to last some time and comes and goes depending on your stress levels, personality type and your bite.


There are a number of potential treatments for teeth grinding and clenching, including behavioural therapy, muscle relaxation exercises, as well as the use of dental splints.

Recent clinical studies have suggested that traditional splint methods used to treat grinding and clenching can encourage a subconscious bitedown, increasing the force placed on teeth, escalating symptoms. More recent treatments involve preventing the back teeth from meeting.

Compared to a traditional guard, the Sci  is a small tailor made dental splint that is much less invasive than a full arch device.

Worn at night, the splint sits between your front teeth, preventing the back teeth from making contact.

In doing so, clench intensity is minimised and grinding becomes almost impossible. By inhibiting the unwanted muscle activity, the tension that causes migraines, headaches, and jaw and neck pain is greatly reduced.

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Thankfully broken teeth can be restored with Composite or Ceramic Restorations

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Immediately after Composite Bonding

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