A patient came to see us complaining of a tooth that has ached now and then and can sometimes cause intense pain spreading to the ear neck and head. She had been suffering like this for over a year! The intense pain happened every few months. She reported that she was highly stressed and found coming to the dentist very stressfull as she had a bad experience in the past.
On assessing her mouth, she had multiple enamel cracks expecially on her front teeth. Her bite was overlapped in certain places incorrectly. When she moved her jaw from left to right to simulate chewing she was constantly knocking the tooth in question.
The evidence in her mouth was showing that she was either clenching her teeth or grinding them together. No one had ever mentioned that to her in the past and she was finally very relieved that she had found some answers.
If you clench your teeth, you are putting 10 times more pressure on your teeth. That’s a huge amount of force. If a single tooth is also taking all that pressure it’s no wonder it hurts. Many people clench or grind their teeth at night and are completely unaware that they do it. If you suffer from headaches, neck ache, or if your jaw feels stiff first thing in the morning you could be grinding your teeth.
To help this lady, we immediately recontoured her problem tooth to ease the pressure on biting. The next step will be to make a bite guard or splint to be worn at night to reduce the clenching habit. This has proven effects to reduce tension headaches as well as teeth grinding.