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Clenching & Grinding Relief
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term given for involuntary teeth grinding and clenching. This is not a normal oral function and can occur while awake or during sleep.
Every time you clench or grind your teeth, you are exerting as much as 800 PSI of pressure. That is 10 times the force you would exert when you chew normally. This amount of pressure can lead to severe dental problems as well as physical pain.
I grind, so what?
Our teeth were not designed to be pressed and ground together for hours at a time. During a 24 hour period, our chewing muscles should be firing, on average, only 5 to 7 minutes total for normal eating and swallowing. If you are a chronic clencher or grinder, then you could be grinding for as much as 40 minutes for every hour you are sleeping. That is a lot of pressure exerted on your teeth, jaw and muscles.
This amount of pressure can cause fractures or cracks in your teeth and will eventually flatten out your teeth into stumps. Eventually if bruxism is not treated, the effects of grinding your teeth is going to have a noticeable effect on your teeth as each time you are bruxing, you are gradually wearing your teeth down and putting strain on your teeth. Root canals, implants, crowns or dentures may be required as a result of the damage that is done.
In addition, you may wake up with sore or tight jaw muscles, popping or clicking in the jaw, neck or face pain and headaches. Eventually this can lead to TMJ dysfunction and disorder.
There is no simple cure for clenching or grinding, but there is hope!
Non-surgical treatment options include massage therapy, physiotherapy treatment, chiropractic treatment, dental appliances like night guards or occlusal splints, orthodontic treatment and Botox® injection therapy.
Surgical treatment options include jaw surgery.
Mint Leaf Dental offers night guards and Botox® injection therapy as options for clenching and grinding relief.
Night Guard Appliance
A night guard is an appliance that is usually worn every night to protect your teeth from the excessive forces during clenching and grinding. It is made from a plastic material that is custom fit to your teeth. You usually wear it on your upper teeth as this is the most comfortable but some people find a lower one more comfortable.
Night guards do not stop you from clenching or grinding your teeth but instead help protect your teeth from fractures or cracks. Instead of wearing down your teeth, you will wear down the night guard as it is softer than your teeth. In addition, night guards can sometimes reduce jaw pain and headaches.
It can take some time to get used to wearing and sleeping with a night guard. For some people, it is only a few weeks and for other it does take a little longer. If you are having trouble sleeping or getting used to your night guard, you may have to give it some more time, need an adjustment or try another treatment option like Botox® injection therapy.
Contact us if you would like more information about night guards and if this treatment is right for you.
Botox® Injection Therapy
Botox® injection therapy is an alternative treatment offered at Mint Leaf Dental by Dr. Alexandra Ociepa to offer relief from clenching and grinding. When injected, Botox® relaxes the chewing muscles around the jaw which reduces the force and frequency at which you clench or grind. As a result, your overused muscles will be given a chance to rest and heal.
Within the first 2-3 days, your treated muscles will have a partial reduction in their ability to clench and grind. The maximal reduction in pressure will be noticed 1-2 weeks after treatment. You will still be able to chew normally, but the amount of pressure you can exert during clenching and grinding will be significantly reduced.
Like treatment for headache pain, using Botox® for clenching and grinding is not a cure. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that breaking the cycle of extreme muscle function with a few treatments may teach the muscles to relax more over time.
Botox® Treatment is a quick procedure the can offer 24/7 relief. Please click here for more information about how Botox® could help you.