What is Teeth Grinding or Bruxism?

An issue that affects over 80% of the population, bruxism is the medical term for the grinding and/or clenching of the teeth and jaw. Left untreated, bruxism can lead to a number of side effects for the sufferer, which can be both painful and persistent.

Possible symptoms include: migraines & headaches on waking, stiff neck & jaw, earache, poor sleep quality and damage to teeth. With the exception of the latter, there is little that implies bruxism could be at the root of the problem, which is often the reason that it remains heavily overlooked and underdiagnosed in the UK.

What are the causes?

Why bruxism occurs is not always clear, though there are a number of contributing factors that could suggest why a patient may be clenching or grinding. The NHS website suggests:

Stress – The highest cause of bruxism, most sufferers of stress & anxiety are often unaware that they are bruxing. These
conditions, whether job or lifestyle-related, can often lead to disrupted sleep patterns and restlessness.

Lifestyle – Substances such as tobacco, caffeine and alcohol have all been linked as co-factors of bruxism. Known to
affect sleep, bruxism rates are significantly higher for individuals who use these psychoactive substances.

Sleep disorders – Snorers, and those suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea or sleep paralysis are more likely to suffer from bruxism. OSA seems to be the highest risk factor, as the snorting and gasping can result in clenching & grinding.

Did you know your dentist can help? At Penn Hill Dental we offer a range of possible treatments to protect the sufferers teeth from permanent damage and help combat the symptoms experienced as a result of bruxism or teeth grinding during sleep. Contact us today for more information on our treatments available or to book an appointment.

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea

Is snoring keeping you awake at night? It’s estimated that over 45% of the population snores, leading to disrupted sleep for the sufferer and their bed partner.

Did you realise that your dentist can help? Penn Hill Dental now offer a range of dental appliances for the treatment of sleep disorders and snoring.

What is snoring?

Simple snoring is the noise resulting from a partial closure of the airway during sleep. It is estimated that over 45% of the population snores, leading are suspected of to disrupted sleep for the sufferer – and their bed partner. Ranging from 50-100 decibels, the equivalent of a pneumatic drill, snoring can lead to relationship issues, daytime sleepiness, increased stress & depression.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)?

OSA is caused by the repeated collapsing of the airway during sleep, resulting in complete (apnoea) or partial (hypopnea) obstruction of airflow for 10 seconds or more. Left untreated, these regular disruptions can lead to serious consequences for the sufferer, including increased blood pressure, heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Typically taking place in conjunction with snoring, obstructive sleep apnoea is most prevalent in middle -age, affecting 4% of
males and 2% of females, until hormonal changes in menopause, appear to balance the gender difference.

Crucially, whilst most OSA sufferers are aware that they do not wake up feeling refreshed following sleep, most – just like the simple snorer – are unaware that they can seek help from their dentist, often consulting their GP instead.

Contact us today to discuss the treatments we have available to combat snoring.

Our hygienists help patients to maintain high levels of oral health. Regular visits to a hygienist will help to ensure that your teeth and gums stay clean and healthy, as the hygienist will remove the build-up of plaque, which may otherwise lead to gum disease.

Tooth decay and gum disease are the biggest cause of tooth loss in adults, which emphasises the importance of maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. If gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to sore, swollen and bleeding gums, not to mention bad breath. Your overall health is also affected by your oral health, with gum disease being linked to heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

Our hygienists will be able to advise you on the most effective teeth cleaning methods to practice at home, in between trips to having your teeth cleaned professionally. Keeping your mouth clean and healthy will not only improve your appearance, but it will also ensure that your breath stays fresh and most importantly, will help to ward off a number of health conditions.

Root canal treatment, or endodontics, is required when the blood or nerve supply the pulp of the tooth is infected through decay or injury. The aim of the treatment is to preserve the tooth by removing all traces of infection and then filling the root to prevent further infection.

What to expect:

  • An x-ray can show the number and shape of the root canals, and also signs of infection in the surrounding bone. Teeth can have a number of roots and some roots are easier to fill than others because of their shape.
  • To keep root canals dry during treatment the dentist may stretch a sheet of thin rubber around the tooth, on a frame outside the mouth; this is called ‘rubber dam’. Having this fitted makes the treatment more comfortable.
  • You will be given a local anaesthetic, and then an opening is made through the top of the tooth, down into the pulp.
  • The dentist then uses narrow files to remove the dead pulp from the core of the tooth and from the root canals.
  • At this point the dentist will put medicaments into the canals and seal the tooth with a temporary filling. You will have to return at a later date for the dentist to complete the treatment.
  • At the next stage, the dentist fills the root canals. A filling is then placed in the remaining cavity in the top of the tooth.  If necessary, at a later date, a crown can be placed on top of the tooth, supported by a post placed inside the filled root canal.
  • Root filled teeth can become darker than other teeth over time, but bleaching can be used to make them look lighter.


  • Pulp damage can cause severe toothache but the pain will usually end very quickly when the root canal is cleaned out.
  • Without a root filling a tooth with a dead pulp would probably have to be taken out. There is also a possibility of infection spreading beyond the tooth itself.
  • Root fillings are usually successful (about 90% of the time) and can last many years, but re-treatment is also possible if infection recurs. Occasionally, if inflammation persists at the tip of the root, surgery can be carried out to remove part of the root, clean the area and put in a filling. This is known as an ‘apicectomy’.

A post and core is a dental restoration used to sufficiently build-up tooth structure for future restoration with a crown when there is not enough tooth structure to properly retain the crown, due to loss of tooth structure to either decay or fracture. Post and cores are therefore referred to as foundation restorations.

The post itself is a reinforced fibre structure that is placed within the root of a tooth that has had a root canal (endodontic procedure). When a root canal is performed, the nerve is removed and the space it occupied is filled with a special filling material.

In placing a post, we remove some of this root canal filling material creating a space. The space that is created is used to anchor the post within the root of the tooth.

The type of post that is chosen will depend upon a number of factors. Most posts used today are prefabricated. The appropriate size is selected depending on the tooth.

A core is built from filling material around the part of the post that sticks out of the root after the post is cemented into the root. The core is shaped so that it will anchor and retain a crown.

Although posts are usually recommended when there is minimal support for a crown, they are not always necessary. The use of a post is determined on an individual basis based upon support and structural strength required.

Penn Hill Dental Practice recommends patients attend regular check-ups, as this can enable our dentists to identify any potential problems at an early stage.  Keeping on top of your oral health can help to prevent problems from escalating, which means that you can not only save time and money, but you could also save yourself from unnecessary pain.

During your check-up, your dentist will provide you with practical advice on how to care for your teeth and gums. This will help to ensure that your mouth stays healthy, and your teeth and gums stay fully functional for as long as possible. We also provide advice for children who may need a little assistance in developing their daily teeth cleaning routine, to help them to establish good mouth care practices for life.

As standard practice, our dental team will include a mouth cancer screening with every examination.  Unfortunately, the number of people diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK is on the increase, but our routine screenings could provide you with an early diagnosis which may potentially save your life.

Sometimes our patients need specialist care to help them combat the more advanced form of gum disease, periodontitis. This can cause symptoms including sore, swollen and bleeding gums and bad breath, and can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Fortunately for the vast majority of patients, periodontal treatment is very successful and their natural teeth can be maintained for many years.

Rest assured that we only offer the most effective, scientifically proven, evidence-based treatment options in order to you to help retain and restore your natural teeth.

The clinical name for gum disease is gingivitis or periodontitis (depending on the severity of the condition). Gum disease can cause sore, swollen, bleeding gums and bad breath or in more severe situations, tooth loss.

Fortunately, with early intervention, the combination of teaching correct techniques and mechanical cleaning, provided by our therapists, is a very successful treatment. This enables people to keep their natural teeth for many years.

Patients may need specialist care to help combat advanced forms of the disease.

Fillings, as the name implies, quite simply fill the hole in a tooth, trying to recreate the original shape of the tooth. Fillings are often a necessary and very straightforward procedure involving the careful cleaning of the cavity and the removal of any weak parts of the tooth. Then the tooth is filled usually with a tooth coloured composite filling chosen to match the colour of your tooth.


  • Usually numb the area around the tooth with an injection – but some small fillings may not need this, or patients may choose not to have any anaesthetic.
  • Remove any decay, together with any old filling material, using a small, high-speed drill.
  • Remove any weak part of the tooth which might break later.
  • Wash and dry the tooth by blowing water and then air onto it.
  • Etch the surface to be restored with a mild acid to help the filling adhere more closely.
  • Coat the surface that is to be restored with a bonding agent (which acts like cement) and then push the filling material into the cavity and shaped as required.
  • Harden the filling by pointing a bright light at it. This is called curing.
  • Then trim and polish the filling as necessary.


  • Unlike silver (amalgam) fillings, white filling material sticks to teeth and can form edges, so it may be effectively used to repair front teeth that are chipped, broken, decayed or worn. It can also be used as a ‘veneer’ to cover marks or discolouration that cleaning won’t remove.
  • White fillings are less noticeable than silver fillings, which may turn black in the mouth. White fillings come in a range of shades so they can be quite closely matched to the colour of your own teeth.
  • A tooth needs less preparation for a white filling than for a silver filling.

Full or partial dentures are removable replacements for lost teeth. Today’s dentures have been thoughtfully designed to look and function like your natural teeth, providing a comfortable and visually natural solution to missing teeth.

We offer full dentures to replace all teeth; or partial dentures, used where only a few teeth are missing. Dentures can be held in place by natural suction to your gum, by clasps gripping onto natural teeth, by fixatives or  the denture could be attached to dental implants.

Dentures must be kept clean and removed at night to give your gums a rest. As with teeth, regular check-ups with the dentist are recommended. If dentures become stained the hygienist will be able to professionally clean your dentures for you.

What to expect:

  • The dentist uses a putty-like material to make moulds of your mouth – called impressions. A dental technician uses them to make models for the denture to be built on. Second impressions are taken in a custom made impression tray.
  • The technician makes wax blocks which fit the models. The dentist puts these in your mouth to record the position of your jaws in relation to each other.
  • A trial denture is made and put in your mouth. The dentist will ask you how it fits, feels and looks before they make any final changes.
  • The trial denture then goes back to the technician who permanently fixes the teeth and does all the finishing touches. The denture is then ready to use. The dentist may want to see you again fairly soon to see how you are getting on with the denture. If there are problems they can make small adjustment.
  • The trial denture then goes back to the technician who permanently fixes the teeth. The denture is then ready to use. The dentist may want to see you again fairly soon to see how you are getting on with the denture. If there are problems they can make small adjustment.


  • If you have lost some teeth, dentures can improve the way you look, bite, chew and speak.
  • They are custom-made to match your mouth and can be made to look as natural as possible.
  • The natural teeth that are left are more protected from wear and tear. Without dentures, the natural teeth may move or tilt, stopping your teeth biting together properly.
  • Dentures can be fitted immediately after teeth have been taken out so that nobody will know that you have had a tooth out.

Dentures will never feel like your own teeth and it can take time to get used to them. Decreased levels of the bony ridge can negatively affect the stability of dentures, especially in the lower jaw. If you haven’t had a denture before the dentist will want to explain the difficulties of wearing dentures, as well as the benefits and how you.

Taking good care of your children’s teeth from an early age is absolutely vital if you want to help them to smile with confidence for life.

From the moment they start to appear, your children’s teeth are just as susceptible to decay and other problems as your own teeth are. Even though their first ”baby” teeth are later replaced, they still have a huge effect on your child’s future smile.

For babies, the key steps to avoiding problems in the future are to offer only milk and water in a bottle, never juice or squash, and to start cleaning your child’s teeth twice a day as soon as they start to come through.

Initially, you can use a children’s toothbrush with a small smear of toothpaste – you may find it easier to stand or sit behind your child so you can reach their top and bottom teeth more easily. Brush gently in small circular movements and remember to brush behind the teeth and along the gumline. Even when your child can clean their own teeth, you should continue to supervise them until they are seven years old or more.

Seeing a dentist regularly is important for your child. You should start to bring your child with you to appointments even before their own teeth appear, so they can get used to the sights, smells and sounds of the practice.

Once they have their own teeth, they should have regular check-ups – we will advise you on how often these should be. These will be fairly informal but enable us to keep a close eye on how your child’s teeth are developing.

Last but certainly not least, discourage your child from eating sugary snacks and drinking sweet and/or fizzy drinks in between meals – frequent consumption of these is the main cause of tooth decay.

For more information on how we can help care for your children’s teeth, please call us – we’ll be happy to help.

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Penn Hill Dental

A team of dentists working to ensure you receive the best treatment.

Penn Hill Dental, 77 Penn Hill Avenue, Poole, Dorset, BH14 9LY
Penn Hill Dental is a trading name of Penndent Ltd
Company Registration No. 12293995 (Registered in England)

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