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.

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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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