The Cost of Clenching and Grinding

Knoxville and Maryville TN

Bruxism, known as clenching and grinding of the teeth, has begun affecting many Americans. Maybe it is the ever-changing economy that is adding stress to the lives of many. Most people will experience some level of bruxism at one point in time or another, and these people will probably not even notice and neither will their dentist. It is when bruxism consistently occurs at night, or while sleeping, that packs the biggest punch for dental deterioration and other health problems.

Bruxism is most often caused by anxiety,stress,medication side effects or an imbalanced bite (caused my childhood allergies, mouth breathing, trauma to head/neck, missing teeth, broken teeth to name a few). People experiencing turbulence in their lives tend to develop stressful habits, such as teeth grinding and clenching. It is important not to ignore clinching and grinding of your teeth.

A Common Sign of Bruxism is:

  • Worn down teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Excessive tooth decay
  • Fractured, broken teeth or missing teeth
  • Gum recession.
  • Notching around your teeth
  • Bulky bone build up on the floor of your mouth

During routine dental checkups, the dentist can usually determine if you grind or clench your teeth because wear and tear may often be visible. However, other factors cause teeth to become damaged and enamel worn thin, so it is important to be aware of other symptoms associated with this habit.

Other Symptoms of Bruxism Include:

  • Poor Sleep
  • Jaw pain (clicking and popping)
  • Headaches (daily, weekly or monthly)
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears (even congestion)
  • Neck & shoulder pain (muscles tension)
  •  Back pain
  • Nerve pain (tingling and hypersensitivity)
  • Sinus discomfort (pressure around your sinuses and temples)
  • Facial Pain (muscle aching in your face)

Often, a sleep partner or a parent may notice the problem before other signs or symptoms are apparent. Eventually, as your teeth become worn down, myofacial pain (pain in the facial muscles) or jaw joint disorders may develop.

The most obvious treatment for bruxism is to eliminate stress from your life, but we all know how nearly impossible this can be, so in the meantime the dentist can help. Most patients with bruxism experience relief from their symptoms by wearing a mouth guard. This custom-made, acrylic splint is to be worn while sleeping and it helps balance the pressure in your mouth that is created when you clench and grind your teeth. If teeth grinding occurs, the custom fit appliance made for your lower teeth (no one can tell your wearing it) takes the brunt of the damage, instead of your teeth. Once your bruxism is under control, the dentist can determine a treatment plan to repair any damaged or missing teeth, should you have any.

To schedule a evaluation and to have a custom-made anatomical orthotic made for you, contact us today at Crestview Dental Care. We welcome patients of Knoxville and Maryville, Tennessee.