Teeth grinding and stress. What your Dentist can do.

Teeth Grinding and Stress. There are some common links.

Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are some of the most common symptoms of stress ,and can take place during the night while you are asleep aswell as during the day.

Swedish research, in 2004 revealed that in the over 35’s, 80% of tooth grinding is related to stress.This can bring with it headaches, jaw and muscle pain and not surprisingly actual tooth damage,including cracks and fracture lines caused by the immense pressure being exerted on the teeth.

As the diagram shows, there are some pretty big muscles working when we eat.Our teeth, jaws and muscles have evolved to allow us to chew effectively and they need to be strong but this very strength can lead to problems.


Excessive grinding brings with it the potential to cause damage to all the structures involved. Triggers of teeth grinding are almost always involuntary, for example, if we are concentrating , but it can also happen when we are asleep. Grinding can also happen when we are frustrated , angry, or undertaking something difficult….  we’ve all heard someone mention that it was a case of just gritting my teeth until it was all over.

These common lifestyle dental issues are treatable and at Bancroft Dentistry in Hitchin, Hertfordshire we have two very successful methods to help ease the problem. The first is called a Lucia jig splint. A big name for a small, plastic appliance that fits over the front two, upper and lower teeth. The plastic effectively keeps the teeth slightly apart, and thereby reduces the clenching force of the muscles.

For more complicated problems we recommend a Michigan splint, which fits over the entire biting suface of your front and back teeth and stabilises the biting pressures, and allows the mucsles to relax.

If you grind at night it could also be affecting the sleep of your partner, as well as your own health. If you are struggling with teeth grinding, it’s almost impossible break the cycle yourself, but help is out there.

Best wishes

Dr Frank Goulbourn
Bancroft Dentistry

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