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Put an End to Teeth Grinding

Do you wake up most mornings with a dull headache or sore jaw? If so, you might be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw in the middle of the night. This activity is known as bruxism.

At Dentistry of Sugar Hill, our team takes bruxism very seriously. We have seen the long-term effects of bruxism on the mouth and jaw, and we know how painful the symptoms can be. However, we understand that in many cases, the activity is subconscious and you don’t actually want to ruin your teeth and jaw.

We can help you protect yourself from the forces of grinding or clenching and put an end to the destructive behavior.

Why Do People Grind?

There are a few reasons why people grind or clench their teeth. Stress and anxiety are common reasons. Consuming a lot of caffeinated or alcohol drinks, smoking tobacco and using certain street drugs can lead to grinding and clenching. Misaligned teeth and an improper bite can also cause bruxism. And, experts have found a link between sleep disordered breathing (i.e., sleep apnea) and bruxism.

Regardless of the cause, it is very important to address bruxism to limit its effect on the health and wellness of the mouth. We invite anyone that suspects they grind to schedule an informational consultation to discuss their options.

How Teeth Grinding Can Affect Oral Health

One of the most obvious effects of grinding is that it wears down the teeth, sometimes to stumps. In the most serious cases, the teeth can break and require tooth repair. Dental restorations can also wear down and fracture. When grinding happens during sleep, the conscious brain has no control over the activity; because of this, the jaw can exert significantly more force than when chewing or biting food. Also, when the teeth chew food, the food acts as a buffer; but teeth don’t have a buffer when grinding at night, so they are subjected to the entire force of the jaw.

Bruxism can also lead to gum recession. As the gums shift away from the teeth, deep pockets can form and harbor bacteria. The bacteria can decay the supporting bone, causing the teeth to loosen and possibly fall out.

Facial pain is another consequence of teeth grinding. This pain can be debilitating and affect quality of life.

Also, bruxism can cause the temporomandibular joint (the TMJ), which is responsible for jaw movement, to develop arthritis. As the arthritis advances, it can make opening and closing the jaw unbearably painful. TMJ problems can also cause clicking or popping sounds when chewing or opening the mouth.

What to Do about Teeth Grinding

One of the most important things our team can do in bruxism cases is protect the teeth and jaw from grinding. We do this with specially fitted mouth guards, which are usually worn at night during sleeping hours. Mouth guards significantly reduce the amount of force that the teeth receive.

We also recommend that people who grind or clench their teeth make some lifestyle tweaks. Managing stress and anxiety with medication, exercise or therapy is important. Reducing alcoholic and caffeinated beverages can help. Training the jaw muscles to relax can also prevent grinding and clenching.

Finally, if bruxism has destroyed teeth or tooth restorations, we can restore the teeth or replace the restorations.

Contact Dentistry of Sugar Hill

If you experience symptoms that are consistent with nighttime bruxism, or you know that you clench or grind, contact our practice and request a consultation. We can discuss putting an end to your teeth grinding and restoring optimal oral health.