If you have every woken up with a sore neck, sore shoulders, with jaw pain or with migraines, you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep. Many people clench or grind their teeth throughout the night or during the day unbeknown to them as grinding is often painless and silent.
Grinding not only results in a shortened appearance of teeth over time as the edges of the teeth wear and are damaged, but also a squared or prominent jaw appearance.
It can be a cause of chronic migraines, neck, shoulder and jaw pain as the chewing muscles are tense and fatigued from continuous work and insufficient rest.
Your dentist is in the best position to assess the severity of grinding and the degree of wear on your teeth. If left untreated, grinding can cause wear, cracked teeth and damage to previous dental work, which can result in the need for extensive repair and restorations of teeth.
To protect your teeth from damage while sleeping, we can provide you with a night guard that is softer than your tooth enamel. This enables the guard to be worn down as opposed to your teeth.
A simple test to determine whether you are a clench or grind your teeth if you are unsure is to firmly bite down firmly while palpating the side of your face. If you can palpate a muscle bulging out as you clench that means you have an overdeveloped or overused Masseter muscle, which is the chewing muscle.
A treatment we offer at Dentistry in Canterbury to partially relax this muscle is use anti-wrinkle treatments. Results are evident within two weeks and the reduction in appearance of the wide lower jaw is visibly noticeable. The treatment can provide a slimmer lower face and improved facial harmony to soften a squared face into a more oval one.
Anti-wrinkle injections are very effective for daytime clenchers or grinders. With regular treatments, the muscle mass shrinks and the injection dosage can be reduced over time.
If you would like to learn about the treatment further or if you have any queries about the guard, clenching or grinding please call the friendly team at Dentistry in Canterbury on 03 9888 5555.
Dr Julie Ghaly