Grinding or clenching puts unnecessary pressure on teeth and jaws and can develop into a range of related oral health issues if left to progress. Find out more about bruxism, jaw pain and obstructive sleep apnoea.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep or while awake. Bruxism may have a physical cause, such as an uneven biting surface, or psychological causes, with some people grinding their teeth when they feel anxious or stressed.
How is bruxism treated?
Bruxism treatment depends on what’s causing the condition. Orthodontic work, crowns or fillings may correct an uneven biting surface, your dentist may provide you with a bite splint to wear over your teeth at night, or you may be referred to a therapist to help you manage stress and anxiety.
What is TMJ disorder?
TMJ disorders (TMD or TMJD) are problems affecting the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect the jaw to the skull. TMJ disorder is often caused by bruxism, but it can have multiple causes including joint conditions such as arthritis or trauma to the jaw.
What can happen if I keep grinding my teeth?
Teeth grinding can put strain on your teeth and jaws. Over time, this can cause teeth to wear down unevenly, which could cause bite problems or TMJ disorder. Teeth that have been weakened by grinding may also feel more sensitive or be more vulnerable to damage.
Can obstructive sleep apnoea go away on its own?
Obstructive sleep apnoea can have many different causes. Sometimes, losing weight, changing your sleep posture or avoiding alcohol in the evening can make it less likely to happen, but the problem normally requires intervention from a dentist or sleep specialist.