Why am I Clenching & Grinding my Teeth?

Teeth Clenching - Paul Beath Dentist Newcastle-min

Why am I Clenching & Grinding my Teeth?

There are several reasons you might be clenching or grinding your teeth throughout the day or when you are sleeping. This type of behaviour is known as Bruxism. In medical terms it’s anything related to clenching, grinding, gnashing or grating of the teeth.

So why does it happen?

Short answer: stress, long answer it’s not exactly known yet.

Most experts believe this condition occurs because of psychological stress or increased anxiety. You may find yourself unconsciously clenching when you are very focused, for example in a high stress situation. Or when you need to make an important decision.

Later in this article, we’ll talk about how you could alleviate bruxism, because it’s not a healthy or sustainable habit.

Before we move on though, other causes for bruxism can include:

–          Misaligned teeth

–          Sleep disorders (e.g. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea)

–          Medications

–          Lifestyle

–          Disease

–          Party Drugs (e.g. ecstasy, MDMA)

How can I stop teeth clenching & grinding?

To treat bruxism, the first port of call is to become aware of it. To become conscious of when it happens and why it’s happening – identifying triggering thoughts or situations for example. Remember, what you can measure you can manage.  

For many people, as soon as they become “aware”, they can simply choose not to grind or clench anymore or at least train themselves to stop over time. Then, symptoms will often subside organically. However, it isn’t always this simple.

As we mentioned above, the most common cause is stress, so we advise the following do it yourself treatments for bruxism:

–          Stretching exercises for the mouth

–          Removing yourself from stressful situations

–          Drinking a lot of water

–          Any stress management strategies you can try e.g. tai chi, yoga, meditation, deep breathing

–          Taking regular breaks

Ok, but when should I consult my Dentist?

  1. Other people are noticing your grinding
  2. Your teeth are sensitive, worn or damaged
  3. You have jaw pain or pain in your face or ear

These are three great indicators that it’s time to seek a professional opinion.

Solutions a Dentist May Provide

Our treatments will include:

–          Mouth guards

–          Splints

–          Reconstructive dental treatment

However, before you get scared, please come and see us, these more extreme measures may not be necessary. We’ll work with you to tailor a solution to free yourself from bruxism. Book online here or give us a call on 0249616300

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