Quality Comprehensive Dentistry in Bicester
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What is bruxism?

More commonly known as teeth grinding, bruxism is a condition categorised by the clenching or chattering of teeth, usually during sleep. It is most often related to stress and anxiety, but can also be linked to certain medicines, sleep apnoea and drinking lots of alcohol or caffeine.

Most people are unaware that apart from mealtimes, teeth should not touch. Grinding your teeth can cause them to become excessively worn and broken, leading to increased sensitivity and even loss. When combined with jaw clenching, you are likely to experience other side effects, including neck and shoulder pain, headaches and disturbed sleep. If you are concerned you may be grinding your teeth, please contact us for advice.

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How will my dentist tell I have signs of bruxism?

30% of the population are unaware that they damage their teeth at night by clenching or grinding – we can help.

During your check up appointment, we thoroughly examine your teeth, looking for any signs of wear. If these are present, we ask if you are aware of any teeth grinding or clenching or if you have any persistent pain in your face, neck or jaw.

We monitor your symptoms, and may suggest a treatment to relieve pain and prevent further damage to your teeth, such as the Sleep Clench Inhibitor or Tanner Nightguard.

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Which problems are associated with bruxism?

  1. Worn Teeth – If clenching and grinding are allowed to continue, there may be damage to the nerves in the teeth, resulting in pain and sensitivity. If left untreated, tooth wear can become so severe that infection and dental abscesses can develop, requiring expensive root canal therapy and crowns.
  2. Damage – Crowns, veneers and fillings are very prone to fracture when bruxism is present. A fracture, even if small, usually requires the entire restoration to be replaced. An extensive tooth fracture may require root canal therapy and a crown.
  3. Cosmetic Problems – The appearance of your smile can be affected by bruxism and unchecked tooth wear, resulting in a more aged look and requiring cosmetic treatment to improve.
  4. Jaw Pain and Headaches – Tension headaches, migraines and jaw pain are often caused by overactive clenching muscles, when they should be resting. Treatment to prevent bruxism can allow tired, painful muscles to recover and headaches to disappear.

Soft Occlusal Splints:

Soft Occlusal Splints are constructed from a transparent plastic. These appliances are primarily used as a short-term, relatively low cost treatment for patients showing signs of pain in the jaws

This appliance is also known as a soft bite raising appliance or ‘Night guard’. The splint will produce symptomatic relief for the majority of patients, although they are typically used in conjunction with other treatments.

Soft occlusal splints are one of the most commonly prescribed splints in dentistry and are highly adept at protecting teeth by absorbing occlusal forces and reducing trauma.

Key benefits are:

  • Pain relief
  • Jaw joint trauma
  • Protecting the bite and teeth after trauma/ accidents

Hard Occlusal Splints:

Michigan and Tanner appliances

The Michigan and Tanner splints are used in the treatment of the jaw/ Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) and to control bruxism. These full coverage splints are constructed in a dual laminate material for maximised comfort

The Michigan splint is constructed on the upper arch, while the tanner splint is constructed on the lower arch.

Key benefits are:

  • Used to give patients a full and ideal bite
  • They can be used to protect restorations after treatment
  • Patients can safely wear the appliance all the time!

The Sleep Clench Inhibitor (SCi)

This is a type of Small Occlusal Splint – made to cover a few front teeth on either the upper or lower jaw

Compared to a full-arch, traditional guard, the SCi is a small, appliance that is typically only worn at night and serves as a barrier that prevents the back teeth from being able to come into contact.

This barrier leads to a reduction in clenching and inhibits muscle activity associated with Bruxism. As such, the tension that may cause migraines, headaches and jaw and neck pain is greatly reduced.

The SCi reduces the high forces that can be generated in the facial muscles by eliminating back tooth contact, and may reduce the common side effects associated with clenching and grinding. It is approved for the treatment of Bruxism and medically diagnosed migraines

Tight, ‘click fit’ to ensure the appliance does not become dislodged during

the SCi has a hard outer and a soft inner lining for increased comfort.

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