Do you clench your teeth when you feel stressed? Do you grind your teeth in your sleep? Do you chew on a pencil - or on ice? Do you open plastic bags with your teeth or chew on your nails? These are some of the habits that can be detrimental to your dental teeth.

Teeth wear as we age and we can loose a millimeter of tooth structure for every 10 years increase in age. But habits can increase the rate of tooth wear. Tooth grinding (or bruxism) can be caused by stress or by sleep disorders or by teeth that don't come together properly due to missing or crooked teeth. If you grind your teeth, your jaw or muscles may feel sore and you may experience a dull headache. Severe bruxism can loosen your teeth and can cause tooth pain and fractures. There are several treatments for bruxing (tooth grinding). Sometimes a simple occlusal adjustment so the teeth meet more evenly can alleviate the symptoms. Sometimes if the wear is extensive, restorative work is indicated. If stress is a contributing factor then we'll discuss relaxation methods, including physical therapy, muscle relaxants and exercise to reduce tension. At Clonakilty Dental Centre we often make occlusal, or mouth, guards to protect the teeth and prevent further destruction.

The occlusal guard is a piece of plastic that fits over the teeth to protect them and prevent bruxing. The occlusal guard needs to be made professionally from carefully constructed models of your mouth and needs to be properly fit and adjusted regularly by a dentist. The occlusal guard is also used to alleviate symptoms of temporo-mandibular joint disfunction. An athletic guard is used by athletes when they are playing contact sports and it helps protect the teeth from damage.

Teeth worn down from tooth grinding

You can learn more about us and cosmetic dentistry on this website. You can also see more before and after photos of smiles we have created and read our patient testimonials.