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What options are available at your London dentist if you suffer from bruxism?

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Bruxism is the medical name for teeth grinding, which is also sometimes known as clenching. Many people grind their teeth on an infrequent basis but some people grind their teeth very regularly and this can be harmful for their oral health. There are two main types of bruxism: sleep bruxism, which occurs subconsciously and awake bruxism, which occurs consciously. Bruxism is most common amongst people aged between 25 and 44.

Why do people grind their teeth?

There are many different reasons why people may grind their teeth and several factors have been identified, including a stressful lifestyle, anxiety, drinking large amounts of alcohol, drinking lots of caffeine, smoking, taking medication and sleep apnoea.

Recently, many dentists have reported an increase in the number of patients experiencing symptoms of bruxism, which could be attributed to stress brought about by the recession. Symptoms of bruxism include headaches, jaw pain, stiffness in the jaw, damage to the teeth and ear ache.

What are the solutions for bruxism?

Before a dentist can suggest an effective treatment for bruxism they will try and identify the underlying cause. If the patient is suffering from stress or anxiety they may be advised to see a counsellor or use self-help techniques to try and reduce anxiety. Your dentist may suggest wearing a protective mouth guard (sometimes known as a splint) to prevent damage to your teeth, which is usually worn at night, when bruxism is most common. If you have sustained dental problems as a result of bruxism, these will also be treated.

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