Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding or clenching, most commonly occurs whilst sleeping.  You may have heard someone else in your house grinding their teeth through the night it can be particularly disconcerting especially in children.

Long term it can lead to all sorts of problems, such as:

  • Worn teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Cracked teeth or broken fillings
  • Jaw joint pain, damage and stiffness
  • Facial muscle pain, headaches and earaches

What Causes It?

Often triggered by stress.

How To Treat It?

If it’s caused by stress, sometime no treatment is needed at all as it disappears on its own accord as the situation resolves.

In children, it can relate to a particularly stage of development in which the adenoids and tonsils enlarge causing partial airway obstruction.  It is thought, that grinding promotes tension through the airway to help the child sleep.  It is also possible that this same pattern occurs in adults, and some consider it to be a pre-sleep apnoea indication.

Wearing A Protective Bite Splint

A bite splint can protect the teeth and prevent some of the side effects of grinding.  Bite splints are custom made and fit snugly over the top teeth while you sleep.  It has a smooth biting surface to prevent the teeth from locking together. It also provides a space to slightly stretch the jaw muscles and relieve pressure on the jaw joint. So if you do grind your teeth can slide over it harmlessly.


Often a referral to neck and jaw physiotherapist will also be helpful to correct and local muscle imbalances and provide acute pain relief.

Addressing The Stress – Relaxation Therapy

It’s not always possible, but sometimes the best way to address tooth grinding is to learn to relax.  Whether it is regular exercise, yoga, meditation, or simply taking some time out.