I have a habit of grinding my teeth. I want to know what causes teeth grinding?

There are quite a few theories about what causes teeth grinding. Usually your dentist will ask you a lot of lifestyle related questions to find out what is the most likely cause for you. Some researchers say that teeth grinding is a habit; while others suggest that it is due to emotional states such as anxiety, frustration and anger. Teeth grinding can also be caused by a malocclusion, which is when the jaw doesn’t line up correctly and the body is simply trying to line the jaw and teeth up during sleep. Bruxism can also be a symptom of a rare disease of the nerves in the facial muscles. Other causes could be a side effect of some anti-depressive medications. Some recreational drugs such as ecstasy and amphetamines have also been suspected of causing teeth grinding. Anxiety, smoking, drinking alcohol or coffee and sleep disorders are all believed to contribute to teeth grinding. Scientifically there isn’t hard evidence to support any single cause, even though 70 per cent of people who clench and grind their teeth are shown to have significant lifestyle stress factors.

What treatment options are there for changing the shape of my teeth?

There are several different treatment options that can be used to help you get the look and shape for your teeth that you prefer. Whether you’d like your teeth to be a little longer, have smaller spaces between your teeth or to repair and cover up chips.

Dental bonding

The first option is dental bonding, this is where a hard-wearing and lasting tooth coloured resin is put on top of the tooth (or teeth) and then set using a special light. This setting process bonds (glues) the resin to the tooth. With dental bonding, your teeth can be reshaped to make them longer.

Dental crowns

Another option is to have dental crowns, sometimes also known as caps. A crown is a tooth shaped object that is partially hollow inside that is cemented in place and encases the tooth. Once treatment is complete it is only the crown that is visible; your tooth is completed covered right up into the gum line.

Dental recontouring

The last option, is something that cannot be reversed or undone and it is recontouring. With this treatment, small amounts of the tooth enamel are removed to change the length, shape, or surface of the teeth. It is a permanent procedure which is why many people choose one of the other options wherever possible.