This common condition, also known as Bruxism, refers to an individual grinding their teeth, usually while asleep but it can also occur during the day. The grinding can be quite forceful and lead to several issues, including health complaints and damage to teeth, gums and the jaw joints.
Both physical and psychological factors can contribute to the severity of Bruxism. Things like incorrect jaw alignment, poor sleep, poor posture, stress/anxiety, caffeine and substance abuse can all be contributing factors.
Three of the main muscle groups associated with Bruxism – the temporalis, masseter and lateral pterygoid muscles are shown here.
Signs and symptoms of Bruxism include chipped or broken teeth, loose teeth, teeth sensitivity, worn/flattened teeth surfaces, fractured teeth or enamel, chronic facial pain with tension headaches, earache or pain in the jaw joint/s
If left untreated Bruxism can result in higher-than-average teeth wear, gum damage, damaged/cracked teeth or fillings.
The most effective management for Bruxism involves protecting the teeth and mouth from the forces of the clenching or grinding. We can achieve this by fitting a dental splint to protect the teeth from wear and the muscles from being overworked.
For some patients, relief from severe teeth grinding/clenching can be provided by using anti-wrinkle/muscle relaxant injections. This is achieved by injecting the product into the facial muscles associated with grinding/clenching which blocks the signals that tell these muscles to contract, reducing/relieving the clenching and grinding. The effects of the injections can last for 3- 6months, with results noticeable after a few days and the full effects of the treatment will be seen within 7 days. Patients often report a significant decrease in jaw pain and headaches within a few weeks.
Dental or teeth implants provide the most natural and life-like solution to a missing tooth or teeth. The finished result is long lasting and feels just like a normal tooth, creating a smile that is very natural and extremely durable.
Dr Nicolas achieves these results using the leading 3D Implant Planning System - M Guide (pictured). The process involves inserting an implant - a manufactured replacement for the root of a tooth that looks like a screw - surgically into the jaw bone. A crown is then attached to the top of the implant to replace the missing tooth. Multiple teeth can be replaced using this technique and it can all be done in clinic by Dr Nicolas. The steps in the process are outlined in the diagram below, courtesy of Moredent.
Dental Health Week Aug 3-9
Dental Health Week, takes place in the first full week of August and this year will run from August 3-9. It, is the Australian Dental Association’s major annual oral health promotion. It's aim is to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health in every aspect of their lives by promoting four key messages:
• Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
• Clean between your teeth daily using floss or interdental brushes.
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet and limit sugar intake.
• Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and preventive care.
The focus of this year’s campaign is on the harm sugar does to oral health, aiming to help Australians to ‘get sugar savvy’. The campaign includes recommended daily sugar consumption levels, advice on reading food labels, and spells out the effect sugar has on our teeth. This information is reinforced with three main sugar messages:
• Consume no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of free sugar per day as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
• Choose foods with less than 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
• Look out for hidden sugars when purchasing foods and drinks.
These important messages will be reinforced via the tagline: ‘How much sugar is hiding is your trolley?’, which draws on the concept of hidden sugars and reading food labels in order to make healthy choices. Making healthy choices at the supermarket extends to making similar smart food and drink choices at home. Saying ‘no’ to an unhealthy item in the supermarket means you don’t have to continue to say ‘no’ at home.
The cost of injury far exceeds the cost of a custom-fitted mouthguard.
Each year many sports players, from children to elite athletes, lose or damage teeth while playing football, basketball, hockey, soccer, rugby and other contact and collision sports.
Custom-made mouthguards offer maximum protection and comfort without hindering breathing, speech or sporting performance. Custom-fitted mouthguards, by virtue of their exact fit, let you talk normally, don’t restrict your breathing and stay firmly in place, allowing you to concentrate on playing the sport you love. Only dental professionals can design and manufacture a custom-fitted mouthguard that provides adequate protection against:
Dislodged or broken teeth
In contrast, self-fitted, over-the-counter mouthguards, which include what are commonly known as boil-and-bite mouthguards, should not be used. They do not protect the teeth, are loosely fitted, impede breathing and speaking, and can even wedge in the back of the throat at impact which could be life threatening.
The shock absorption qualities of custom-made mouthguards not only protect teeth but also minimise the risk of concussion or, even worse, base-of-skull fractures.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends that anyone who participates in a sport that carries a risk of contact to the face should wear a mouthguard and you should consider it a mandatory part of your sporting equipment, no matter your age or experience..