If you suffer from headaches, neck, shoulder or back pain, especially in the mornings, it could be a sign that you clench or grind your teeth at night. It is also one of the main causes of tooth wear, breakages and sensitivity.
The habit of tooth grinding can become worse at times of stress and can, in some cases be quite debilitating. It is more common in people who have an uneven bite.
When your bite is unbalanced, the forces applied through your teeth aren’t distributed evenly across your teeth. Sometimes one or two teeth hit milliseconds before the others and this overload can be detrimental, especially on back teeth where the forces are highest.
Tooth grinding can be helped by the wearing of a custom-fit appliance (usually at night) which fits over the biting surface of the teeth and is adjusted to allow the teeth to contact evenly.
Alternatively, sometimes it is possible to equilibrate the teeth. This involves balancing the bite by making minute adjustments to the biting surfaces of the teeth, allowing all the teeth to contact evenly. www.bsos.org.uk.
What is a bite appliance?
The most widely used appliances are custom-made plastic devices which fit over the biting surfaces of the teeth to distribute the biting forces more evenly, therefore allowing the muscles to relax.
My jaw clicks, should I be concerned?
Clicking jaws are very common and, unless pain is present, there is no evidence to suggest that treatment is required.