Facial pain and headaches often disappear when patients stop grinding their teeth, but tooth damage and other side effects such as infection may need treatment. The trouble is, many people don’t realise they are grinding their teeth until pain in their jaw or teeth alerts them — when irreversible damage has already been caused. Regular dental check-ups give dentists an opportunity to identify signs of teeth grinding early before serious damage takes place.
Benefits of being treated for teeth grinding
at The Bristol Dental Practice
How to recognise teeth grinding
It’s rare for patients to alert their dentist to teeth grinding, and often they will be quite sure they don’t suffer from teeth grinding until the dentist identifies symptoms. A partner is likely to notice the problem first, for example they might hear a grinding sound at night.
It can be a side effect of medication such as antidepressants including paroxetine, fluoxetine and sertraline. People who snore or have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea are more likely to grind their teeth, as are people who talk or mumble while asleep. Drinking alcohol or caffeine drinks to excess can make it worse.
Headaches, worn teeth that are painful, and pain in the jaw joint and muscles are common results of teeth grinding. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), named after the jaw joint, may develop later. Signs of TMD include:
- pain around the jaw, ear and temple
- clicking, popping or grinding noises when the jaw is moved
- a headache around the temples
- difficulty opening the mouth fully
- the jaw locks when the mouth is opened
The pain may be worse when chewing and during times of stress, and TMD can also prevent people from enjoying a good night’s sleep.
Why Choose The Bristol
Open 7 Days
We are Bristol’s
only 7 day dental
We are available
when it suits you
Interest free finance
Highly trained multidisciplinary
team of dentists
Established for over
Once the source of the pain and the tooth wear is under control any worn tooth tissues can be safely restored. This could be a simple matter of adding white fillings to the top of the teeth, using porcelain or composite veneers, or applying onlays or crowns to the back of the teeth. The dentist will be looking for safe and reliable ways of increasing height to the teeth, which could extend to a full mouth rehabilitation. This means creating a balanced, functional bite again by restoring every tooth in the mouth.
Dr Devin Vaghela has a special interest in tooth wear management and he is qualified and experienced at treating TMD. Treatment may consist of prescribing painkillers and using hot compresses that enable heat to decrease muscle spasm, relax tense muscles, relieve pain and increase range of motion. Patients may be shown exercises to help with their jaw and asked to wear a splint at night.
See some of our cases,
before and after
Referrals for teeth grinding
We’re always happy to receive referrals for any of our dental services, we treat routine to very complex cases and we also help extremely nervous patients who require sedation in order to access dental treatment.