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Danger in the Night – Grinding Your Teeth

Grinding your teeth can be not only dangerous to your health, it can permanently damage your teeth. Since it’s something that you don’t feel you have control over, what can you do to stop this annoying and damaging habit?

The Hidden Dangers of Grinding Your Teeth

At Dentistry of Johns Creek, Dr. Robert Shackelford sees the damage done from years of nightly teeth grinding and jaw clenching. The official name for teeth grinding is bruxism. Bruxism consists of two actions, clenching and grinding. Clenching is a tightening of the jaw that presses teeth together tightly. Grinding is friction that happens when the teeth rub back and forth or side to side against each other. You can clench without grinding, but be grinding always includes clenching. Some people only clench or both clench and grind their teeth at night. In addition to actual abnormal wear and tear, often resulting in the formation of grooves in the teeth, clenching and grinding can cause serious health issues such as:

  • Muscle pain of the jaw and face
  • Loosened teeth
  • Cracked and chipped teeth
  • Sensitivity to cold or hot
  • Increased risk of cavities
  • Ear pain
  • Migraines
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Neck pain
  • TMJ

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding may be caused by a number of different factors. One of the most common causes of teeth grinding is from stress and anxiety. People who undergo stress and anxiety during the day can store it up and then it manifests itself at night through biting and clenching of their teeth. Another cause could be from misaligned teeth or jaw. As you sleep, your teeth may be constantly shifting for a comfortable resting position and doing so without finding relief.

Teeth Grinding Preventative Care at Dentistry of Johns Creek

Many people who grind their teeth at night find relief from a custom fit acrylic mouth guard worn at bedtime. This guard can protect the surface of the teeth and reduce the pressure from clenching. Since stress and anxiety are often part of the cause of clenching and grinding, techniques such as meditation, psychotherapy, natural sleep supplements, anxiety medication, and hypnosis can be helpful to some people.

Tooth Grinding Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment

Cosmetic dentistry can offer significant relief and improve the appearance of teeth as well. For mild cases of teeth grinding, a bonding agent or porcelain veneers can restore and protect chipped teeth. For more serious damage, a crown or overlay may work well. Since tightly spaced teeth and poor alignment can contribute to bruxism, some people may benefit from Invisalign braces. This treatment combines preventative care with cosmetic dentistry and can provide significant improvements in your dental health.

If you’d like personal advice and targeted treatment for your teeth grinding issues, Dr. Robert Shackelford at Dentistry of Johns Creek will be happy to examine your teeth and discuss options that can best meet a solution to your teeth grinding problem. Call us for an initial consultation today. 770-442-8472

Dentistry of Johns Creek has patients from all over North Georgia including Suwanee, Buford, Cumming, Alpharetta, and Roswell.

© 2014 Dentistry of Johns Creek. All rights reserved.

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