Many people clench and grind their teeth at some stage during their lives, which can sometimes lead to undue wear, and may cause permanent damage to the teeth and the jaw joints. Predominantly clenching and grinding occurs during sleep, in both adults and children and as a result they have no conscious control over the habit.
Some signs and symptoms of grinding and clenching include:
- Pain and sensitivity to heat and cold
- Chronic muscular facial pain and tension headaches
- Flat and worn tooth surfaces
- Micro fractures of the tooth enamel
- Broken or chipped teeth or fillings
- Stiffness and pain in the jaw joint
An occlusal splint (also called a night guard) is a good option for someone with mild to severe grinding behaviour. It is custom-made and is worn at night.
Other treatment includes prescribed exercises, physiotherapy and heat application.