Grinding and Clenching

What is Bruxism?

Do you wake up with headaches? Jaw pain? Do your teeth feel extra sensitive some days? You may suffer from a common condition known as bruxism. Bruxism, or clenching and grinding, affects millions of Canadians each year. While the cause is largely unknown, certain lifestyle factors can contribute to the habit. Some of those include:

  • Tobacco or alcohol use
  • Drug use – especially stimulants
  • Stress
  • Having an “A-type” personality
  • Suffering from TMJD (jaw disorders – temporomandibular joint disorders)
  • Having poor occlusion, a bad bite

While people can reduce symptoms of bruxism with certain lifestyle changes, they often cannot completely eliminate them on their own.

Treatment for Bruxism

At Currie Barracks Dental, we can help to reduce symptoms such as headaches, sore or fractured teeth, jaw tension, and poor sleep quality by fabricating an oral appliance (nightguard, or splint) that patients wear at night.

Splints create a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. While they are typically made from firm acrylic, they are softer than the enamel of your teeth. That means they can absorb some of the force of clenching and grinding.

In addition, nightguards can help your jaw find a comfortable position, allowing your muscles to relax.

Consequences of Non-Treatment

Living with headaches, pain, and facial tension can significantly reduce your quality of life. Additionally, a clenching and grinding habit can excessive wear and fracture your teeth. Your jaws are incredibly strong and can exert enormous amounts of force, even while you sleep.

Broken, cracked, fractured teeth can put your oral health and appearance at risk. Heavy wear may expose your teeth to decay and sensitivity. Small notches at your gum line, called abfractions, can cause sensitivity, as can gum recession.

TMJD – Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Long-term bruxism may cause your jaw joints to deteriorate. You could experience clicking, popping, and locking of your jaw. TMJD has been linked to fatigue, depression, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), migraine headaches, neck pain, and shoulder tension.

The treatment we offer is both non-invasive and a good way to prevent many oral health conditions associated with early and excessive wear and tear on your teeth. Most patients find significant relief within a week of wearing their nightguards and report that they get used to them quickly.

We custom create your nightguard so that it fits snugly and stays put while you sleep. We recommend bringing it with you to your dental appointments so that we can examine it and make any necessary adjustments to keep it fitting well.

Contact Us to Schedule an Exam

Both Dr. Vora and Dr. Villeneuve have experience treating bruxism and TMJD. We encourage you to call our Calgary, Alberta dental office so that you can feel relief and begin to feel like yourself again!

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