Yes, I said “brux.” Once in awhile, I’ll notice that a patient has over-developed jaw muscles or that the tops of their teeth appear to be more worn than usual. These signs usually reveal that my patient suffers from bruxism - or tooth grinding and clenching. We grind and clench for different reasons, but no matter why we do it, it most definitely affects your teeth and mouth.
Do you have wear on your teeth or know someone that does? Read more about how that may affect you.
Grinding or clenching your jaw during the daytime often happens during times of extreme concentration, anger, or stress; perhaps you are laser-focused on a project at work or you’ve had it with your kids whining all the time. The good news is that daytime bruxism can be controlled once it’s identified. With behavior modification, grinders and clenchers can find alternative ways to relieve their stress.
Nighttime bruxism isn’t quite so simple. Many times, you have no awareness that you are doing it; you simply wake up with muscular pain in their jaw. Without a doctor or dentist to help identify the problem, you unknowingly continue to damage your teeth. While some studies have suggested that nighttime grinding is nature’s way of combating episodes of sleep apnea, it is still important to have a proper diagnosis. If apnea is the cause of the grinding, then a dental appliance can be worn to stop the apneic episodes. If the cause of the grinding is unknown, then a mouth guard may be prescribed to minimize the effects of bruxism on the teeth and jaw.
If you are concerned that you could be clenching or grinding - regardless of whether you do it day or night - call our office to schedule an appointment. We can help you diagnose the issue and resolve the problem before it damages your smile.