Teeth Grinding

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Monday, May 3, 2010

Bruxism is the term used for teeth grinding.  Many people either grind or clench their teeth.  Often, this occurs at night.  It is possible for an active grinder to put 3 months of wear or their teeth in one night.  This, obviously, ages one’s mouth quickly.

Symptoms include:

  • A sore or tired jaw
  • Dull headaches
  • Earaches
  • Sensitive teeth

People with type A personalities, or people under stress, often report being teeth grinders.

Results from bruxism:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Flattened teeth or grooved and worn down teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Sometimes sore jaw muscles or joint problems

Mouth guards are the first defense against bruxism.  If you can wear an athletic mouth guard from a sports store, they will protect your teeth at night.  Frequently, a generic mouth guard, however, will be too bulky or uncomfortable to keep in the mouth.  Your friendly dentist can evaluate and precision-make a hard acrylic mouth guard to protect your teeth.

If extreme wear has done damage to your teeth, your dentist can restore your teeth with crowns and onlays.  Gold was the old standard for crowns, but even on extreme grinders, zirconium is often the best cosmetic replacement for worn teeth.  Zirconium crowns are beautiful, tooth colored, and strong, no metal collar.

Reduction in stress and certain oral medications may reduce the incidence of bruxism.

Talk to your dentist about what protocols or procedures are best for you.

Happy chewing!

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