Teeth Grinding

Are you experiencing ongoing discomfort or pain in your jaw, headaches or sensitive teeth? If so, this may be a result of teeth grinding (also known as bruxism), which usually takes place unconsciously during sleep. 

Around half the population grinds their teeth from time to time, with approximately 5% of the population suffering from regular, forceful tooth grinding. Teeth grinding can include the clenching, grinding and gnashing of teeth.

The highly skilled team at Crows Nest Dentists can assist offering a number of solutions to address teeth grinding including occlusal splints (also known as night guards) and botox.

Why teeth grinding is a problem

Woman with headache caused by teeth grinding

Teeth grinding can lead to a range of serious dental problems including unnecessary tooth wear, chipped or broken teeth and jaw pain, which can lead to a condition called temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This will ultimately result in increased sensitivity and the potential loss of teeth and fillings. Teeth grinding can also be linked to headaches, face, neck and shoulder pain, poor sleep and more.

What causes teeth grinding?

Unfortunately there’s no easy one size fits all answer to what causes someone to grind their teeth. In a lot of cases, teeth grinding is associated with stress and anxiety, but can also be caused by sleep problems (such as snoring and sleep apnoea), certain medications and drugs and alcohol. Yes, that also includes the consumption of caffeine.

How to address teeth grinding?

Thankfully, there are several ways to address teeth grinding including dental treatment and lifestyle changes. Speaking to a dentist is a great to place start as they’ll be able to assess the situation and formulate a plan tailored to your needs.

Dental treatment for teeth grinding

Lifestyle changes might just not be the right solution when it comes to the treatment of teeth grinding. Dental treatment is likely to offer longer term relief and your dentist can work closely with you to offer modifications as needed. Such treatments might include Night Guards and Botox in the Masseter muscles (chewing muscles)

Occlusal Splints (Night Guards)

Occlusal splints are common removable dental appliances used for the treatment of teeth grinding. This dental equipment is custom-made to fit an individual’s teeth and works by cushioning the teeth and preventing them from grinding against each other, reducing the pressure on the jaw. This also stops the facial muscles from contracting for hours on end, resulting in a more relaxed, pain-free face. Occlusal Splint

Occlusal splints are commonly made out of acrylic, but at Crows Nest Dentists we’ve recently found a new material that is much stronger than acrylic, known as 3D printed Nylon. Due to their superior strength, Nylon splints can be made thinner and thus be more comfortable for sleeping in.

Occlusal splints are generally used in the evening while sleeping. However, some patients may choose to wear them while they are working or studying, as this is often when they’re concentrating most (thus more likely to clench). Some people even clench their teeth when lifting weights, so you may even need to bring yours to the gym!

Treatment is generally effective for long-term relief and may need to be worn for several months or years. They may take some time to get used to at the beginning, but after a while, some people say they can’t imagine sleeping without them.


Botox for teeth grinding (bruxism)

Occlusal splints are the gold standard for treating tooth grinding, however Botox can be used in addition for moderate cases or if a person cannot tolerate sleeping with a splint. Botox, also sold under the brand name Dysport, is a medication that blocks the release of neurotransmitters in muscle tissue. When injected into the Masseter muscle, which is responsible for clenching or grinding, Botox weakens the muscle and reduces its activity, leading to less grinding. At Crows Nest Dentists, we provide Botox injections for bruxism, which can provide relief for several months. Even though the muscle is slightly weakened, it is generally not to the point where a person still can’t enjoy chewing their favourite foods.

While Botox has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of bruxism, it is not a permanent solution. 4 – 6 monthly injections are often necessary to maintain the effect, and the treatment may not be suitable for everyone. This kind of treatment usually starts at about $500. If you feel this could be the right treatment for you, please make an appointment to discuss it with us.

Lifestyle Change That May Help With Teeth Grinding

Lifestyle changes may be beneficial in helping to reduce the impact of teeth grinding. However, the required changes needed can often be difficult to pinpoint and don’t necessarily guarantee that the problem won’t recur. Lifestyle changes that may help with teeth grinding include: 

  • Reducing stress and anxiety by finding ways to relax. This may include meditation, listening to music and regular exercise.  
  • Improving your sleep routine and quality by going to bed at the same time each evening, relaxing before bedtime, removing electronic distractions at night, and making sure your bedroom is dark and quiet
  • Reducing your intake of drugs and alcohol. This includes avoiding caffeine, especially in the afternoons.

Cost of Treatment for Teeth Grinding

The cost of treatment for teeth grinding can vary depending on the type of treatment required. Dental treatments such as occlusal splints and night guards can generally cost several hundred dollars.

Get Help With Teeth Grinding Today

If you are experiencing symptoms of teeth grinding, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your teeth and jaw. 

Get in touch to discuss the best treatment options for you and the associated costs.

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