Grinding, Clenching and Headaches
Can I be grinding or clenching if I am not aware of it?
Absolutely. Majority of people who grind and clench are not aware they do so, as they mainly do it at night when asleep. Sometimes, their partner may hear them through the night. However, most do not. This is because we do not grind consistently through the night every night. It occurs intermittently and at various times through the night.
Signs that you are grinding and clenching
- Waking up with aching and sore teeth
- Stiff jaw muscles, face and temples
- Fractured, chipped or loose teeth
- Pain in the ear
- Sore jaws while eating, especially in the morning
- Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks
- Feeling yourself clenching your jaw through the day
- Tooth indentations on the side of the tongue
- Raised line on the inside of the cheek caused by cheek biting
Why do I grind or clench or have headaches?
There are many reasons why you grind or clench your teeth. The most common reason is stress related. It could be due to illness, medication side effects, and/or chronic pain. It can be hard to pinpoint one single reason for it, it is usually multifactorial.
What can be done to help?
There are a few treatment options that could help:
1. Occlusal splint – a customised appliance you wear at night time to help protect your teeth from wear and fracture.
2. Botox – If the grinding and clenching is muscular in origin we can target these muscles and reduce the increased activity in them to give relief of pain and discomfort.
3. Physiotherapy – stretching and addressing these muscles with a physiotherapist can also help to achieve relief from the discomfort.
Your dentist will diagnose your condition and then help guide you in which treatment option will be right for you.