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(480) 899-52402470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

Daniel G. Kline DDS - Chandler Dentist

(480) 899-5240

2470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

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The Nightly Grind

Posted by Editor in , on March 22, 2017

 

 

Do you grind your teeth? It’s a very common occurrence, and many people aren’t even aware that they do it. Most common in children and adolescents, some people outgrow this habit while others keep at it their entire lives. In many cases, tooth grinding can come and go. It might crop up again when you’re stressed and it can stop for months or years at a time.

The official term is “bruxism” and it’s defined by a grinding or clenching of the teeth. When done sporadically, it might not cause any harm, but when grinding is routine it can cause serious oral health problems. Most people grind their teeth when they’re asleep and it could be caused by a poor bite, crooked teeth, a sleep condition like apnea, or sheer stress.

You’ll probably be told that you grind your teeth by a sleep partner, or you might be tipped off by a headache or sore jaw in the morning. A dentist can quickly determine if you grind your teeth regularly by checking for abnormal wear and tear.

What’s the Big Deal?

Tooth grinding can lead to loss of teeth, fractures, loose teeth, and wearing down the enamel to eventual nerve exposure. Implants, crowns, bridges, partial and full dentures may eventually be needed if tooth grinding isn’t addressed. An immediate fix is a dental mouth guard to wear when you sleep. This will protect your teeth, though it won’t stop the cause of grinding.

Patients may need to try various stress techniques, start an exercise program, see a physical therapist or even be prescribed medication to relax muscles. Sleep disorders have various treatments that may include reducing caffeine, alcohol, or chewing gum.

If you grind your teeth, the sooner you get help, the better. Once you wear down tooth enamel, it can’t grow back. You only have one set of natural teeth, so protect them. Contact our office today to discuss tooth grinding concerns.