Did you know?
November 1, 2022

Did you know that tooth wear from clenching and/or grinding could be a sign of sleep related breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? For more information on OSA, please click here or contact our office at 734-426-9000 to schedule an airway consultation with Dr. Brent Kolb.

Clenching and Grinding Prevention in Dexter, Michigan

Dental Hygienist With Patient

Do you wake up with jaw pain in the morning or clench your teeth during stressful situations? These habits can damage your teeth and lead to muscle and joint pain. The habit of teeth clenching and grinding, known as bruxism, is just one of the conditions we treat here at Dexter Family Dentistry. Serving patients in Dexter, Michigan, and the surrounding communities, our team can help you identify the symptoms, as well as understand the possible treatments and methods for teeth grinding prevention to help protect your smile and remain pain free.

Symptoms of Teeth Clenching and Grinding

Jaw clenching and teeth grinding is an often unconscious behavior that can occur while the person is awake or asleep. It can become a habit during periods of anxiety, stress, and anger, and other intense emotions during the day, known as awake bruxism. It can also be associated with night-occurring conditions, like snoring and sleep apnea, known as sleep bruxism. While some of the effects of this behavior, like pain and sensitivity, are clearly felt, other effects such as tooth wear can be seen by your dentist during a clinical examination. Signs of bruxism may include:

  • Nighttime grinding and gnashing heard by your partner
  • Morning jaw, neck, and face pain
  • Jaw fatigue and stiffness
  • Tension-type headaches
  • Clicking/popping of the jaw joints
  • Unknown cheek or tongue trauma

How Clenching and Grinding Affect Your Teeth

If left untreated, the signs of bruxism can become evident in your smile. The edges of the teeth wear more and more over time, eventually exposing the inner, more sensitive layer (dentin). Once the soft dentin is exposed, the pace of wear usually increases, and the patient becomes more susceptible to tooth decay and possibly tooth loss.  Signs of tooth wear may include:

  • Irregular tooth edges
  • Tooth pain and sensitivity
  • Uncoordinated chewing motions
  • Cracked or fractured tooth surfaces
  • Damaged or loose crowns and fillings
  • Loose teeth

Because you may be unaware of this condition, regular dental visits play an important role in early diagnosis and teeth grinding prevention.

Treatments for Teeth Clenching and Grinding

The treatments for clenching and grinding will vary based on the underlying cause and extent of the damage. With a few behavioral modifications, most people with awake bruxism can self-treat it. Once the patient is aware of the condition, they can find ways to identify triggers and manage reactions through relaxation techniques and other methods.

For many patients with sleep bruxism, the condition can be effectively treated by wearing a bite guard while sleeping. Also known as night guards and occlusal guards, a bite guard for bruxism is another viable treatment option. It works by putting a barrier between your teeth, and they are customized to the shape of your teeth for a secure, comfortable fit. When you clench, it absorbs the force of biting and helps prevent the teeth from grinding together.

Your dentist may also recommend a personalized treatment plan for restoring any damage that’s already been done. These may include fillings, crowns, or other restorative options.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Let us help you find methods for teeth grinding prevention that’ll help preserve your smile for years to come. Proudly serving patients in the Dexter, MI area, we offer a variety of dental services in a positive, professional atmosphere. For more information about treatments or to request an appointment, contact us today.