Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

    Many people grind their teeth from time to time (a condition called “Bruxism”).

    Occasional grinding is not usually harmful, but damage can surely result from regular tooth grinding; sometimes even severe damage.

    Sleep Bruxism has also been associated with snoring, sleep apnea, moderate daytime sleepiness, heavy alcohol consumption, caffeine drinkers, smoking, a highly stressful lifestyle, and those with anxiety.

    According to a comprehensive study reported in the American College of Chest Physicians Journal, more than 8% of the population grind their teeth at night. Half of those that grind also experience significant consequences. These can include muscular discomfort upon waking, sleep disturbing tooth grinding and the necessity of extensive dental work.

    Additional consequences of nighttime grinding (also known as sleep bruxism) can include headaches, facial pain, jaw joint discomfort, excessive tooth enamel wear, dental damage and premature loss of teeth due to excessive attrition and mobility.

    The Good News is: There are some dental approaches to address this excessive wear.

    • Splints/Night Guards/Mouth Guards:  These are designed to protect the teeth by keeping them separated and avoid the damage caused by clenching or grinding. They can be made of hard acrylic or soft materials. They are custom made from a mold of your mouth and adjusted to fit snugly but comfortably against your teeth. This helps them to stay in while you sleep at night. Some people wear them during the day, too, but they’re more commonly used while sleeping.
    • Dental Correction: In severe cases, teeth become worn down to the point of being sensitive or losing their ability to chew properly and comfortably.  When this happens, we can reshape the chewing surfaces with composite restorations or use crowns to repair the damage.

    If you think you may be grinding your teeth at night, or if your sleeping partner tells you that you are grinding your teeth at night, please let us know the next time you are in the office!

    We can evaluate the condition of your bite and determine if and which option is best for protecting your teeth. It’s best to be proactive – and act BEFORE they get to the point of needing excessive measures to repair! Night Guards are an easy way to prevent this from happening.  We make them for patients all the time. Maybe you are already seeing evidence of some tooth wear. The wearing down of the teeth is a slow process. Because it’s gradual, it can become a problem before you realize it.  If you think you may benefit from this as a preventive measure, we can help!

    Be sure to contact our office to discuss any concerns you may have and to schedule your next visit. You can reach us Monday-Thursday at 214-956-9100