Teeth grinding, clenching, or Bruxism as it’s officially known, is one of those tricky conditions that you could be suffering from without even knowing it. Grinding or clenching is an involuntary movement of the teeth, which does not always present symptoms in ways that are immediately noticeable.

Most people aren’t aware they are grinding until their partners bring it to their attention that they can hear them at night grinding or advanced symptoms such as broken teeth, headaches, tight jaw muscles, jaw pain, worn down teeth, sensitive teeth start to arise.

Treatment For Sleep Apnoea

Oral appliance therapy has been scientifically proven to be effective in treating snoring and mild to moderate OSA. For people with severe OSA the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is recommended as the gold standard treatment; however oral appliance therapy can often be used effectively in such cases if the patient cannot tolerate the CPAP machine. While well documented evidence exists that oral appliances have substantially reduced snoring and sleep apnoea in many cases, there is no guarantee that this therapy will be successful for everyone. Numerous factors contribute to snoring / sleep apnoea problem such as nasal obstruction, narrow airway space in the throat, and excess weight constricting the airway. Since each person has their own individual set of factors, an oral appliance may not reduce snoring in every individual. While such factors will be assessed prior to treatment, the effect of these factors can be to some extent unpredictable. The majority of people find dental sleep appliances comfortable. If you suffer hyper sensitivity, it may be challenging to tolerate the appliance in their mouth.

Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

Working out if you are a grinder is challenging due to the fact that while you may have some symptoms when you first wake up, the will quickly disappear; and if grinding occurs during waking hours’ symptoms will not be noticeable until later in the day however the will too quickly disappear and you will forget about it until symptoms are felt on a more frequent and longer basis.

What to look for

  • Fractured, chipper teeth or fillings
  • Loose teeth
  • Dull headache, sore and/or tight jaw
  • Possible ear ache
  • Aching teeth, and stiffness in the face and temples, especially after waking up
  • Stiff and sore jaw while eating, particularly at breakfast time
  • Intense jaw clenching
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages

Even if you are unsure whether the grinding is responsible for the symptoms you’re experiencing, we strongly recommend telling your dentist as soon as you suspect something is wrong. The earlier it is diagnosed the quicker it can be treated reducing long term damages to your teeth and jaw.

Complications Caused By Teeth Grinding

All those symptoms and niggling problems can be indicators that greater damage has being done.

Due to the pressure applied when teeth grind it can crack the enamel which is the teeth protective layer, if the enamel cracks teeth will fracture and break, also fracture of crowns and filling does happen due to untreated grinding.

It is also possible that you might find that teeth become more sensitive to change of temperature, and more painful to biting down.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

The cause could be either physiological or psychological meaning that any treatment might often need to address both of these causes.  Our dentist at Morphett Vale Dental Care can help you take care of the physiological causes such as fitting a nightguard if you grind at night, as well as treat any broken-down teeth, filling and crowns.

However, if the source of the problem is emotional, poor nutrition, long term illness, it is important to dressed these issues ahead and if unsure let the dentist know as they can point you in the right direction.


It is very important to use a nightguard if you are a night grinder, purely because your protective reflexes are switched off at night and you can clench or grind up 130% harder than you what normally would.

Only dental professionals can design and manufacture a custom-fitted nightguard that provides adequate protection. Over-the-counter nightguards (chemist brands) do not protect your teeth, they are loosely fitted, impair breathing and can even wedge in the back of the throat resulting life threatening.

If growth and development has stopped and if the nightguard has been properly used, stored, and checked yearly by your dentist, a custom-fitted nightguard should last several years