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Getting Over the Nightly (Tooth) Grind

Posted 02/19/2021

At Dr. Kelley's Center For Family Dentistry, here in Troy MI, we are able to meet diverse treatment needs. This includes the use of porcelain crowns for major tooth decay and damage and advanced cosmetic treatments that enhance smile aesthetics. A number of our patients have suffered from aesthetic flaws and functional issues as a result of tooth grinding. We'd like to take a moment right now to look at the causes and treatments out there for teeth grinding.

About Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Bruxism refers to the gnashing, clenching, shifting, and grinding of the teeth when a person is asleep. This can be a minor issue that results in tooth pain and jaw pain. Headaches and earaches are both common side effects of bruxism as well.

In severe cases, patients may experience tooth damage from the grinding, such as chips and cracks, as well as gum recession due to the constant pressure on the teeth. TMJ disorders may also occur due to the amount of stress placed on the jaw joint from the gnashing and shifting.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) Caused by Malocclusion

One of most common causes of bruxism is malocclusion, which you probably know better as tooth misalignment. When your teeth are crooked, it's difficult for your upper and lower dental arches to find a comfortable rest position. When this happens, your jaw will constantly shift during the night.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) Caused by Stress and Anxiety

Another contributing factor to or sole cause of teeth grinding is stress and anxiety. When you are under a lot of stress, you may be more prone to gnashing and clenching your teeth while you sleep. This is just one of many reasons why stress has such a negative impact on your overall health and wellness.

Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Treating tooth grinding can take a number of different forms. Usually a combination of treatments will prove most ideal, though it really depends on the root cause of the tooth grinding:

  • Use of a Night Guard - A night guard is a mouthpiece that is worn when the patient is asleep. This prevents the teeth of the upper dental arch and the teeth of the lower dental arch from making contact, which reduces the amount of pressure and stress placed on the teeth as well as the jaw joint.
  • Orthodontic Treatment - When malocclusion is the primary cause of the tooth grinding, improving the alignment of the teeth is one of the ideal options to consider. This will allow the teeth to find a comfortable rest position during sleep and prevent shifting and gnashing.
  • Relaxation Techniques and Stress Management Strategies - When stress contributes to tooth grinding or causes it, finding ways to relax and unwind can be very helpful. Meditation, exercise, and reassessing your schedule are all good options to consider, though your general practitioner can help you devise other strategies as needed.

Treating the Damage Done by Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

When tooth grinding causes tooth damage, gum recession, or problems with your jaw joint, there are plenty of restorative dentistry procedures to consider to address the problems that you face. These include dental crowns, gum grafting, inlays, and onlays. We will be more than happy to go over all of these options in greater detail during your visit to the practice.

Learn More About General Dental Care Treatments

For more information about teeth grinding as well as many other dental health concerns that may be affecting you, be sure to contact us family dental care center today. Dr. Keith Kelley and the entire team here look forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve optimal dental health and wellness.

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