Monday, March 26, 2012

Are You Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth?

Most people don't realize they are grinding or clenching their teeth until they have pain, break a filling, or worse break a tooth.  This condition is called bruxism, and most people don't realize they are doing it, because they do it while they are sleeping.  Sometimes, a sleep partner will notice before you do.  They can hear the grinding sounds and often it will wake them up.  When someone is clenching their teeth, without grinding, it is often harder to diagnose until the dentist sees unusual wear patterns on the teeth.  The patient may notice they wake up with a headache, earache or tooth ache.  The pressure placed on the teeth from bruxism can cause TMJ pain, cracks and fractures in the enamel, and generalized sensitivity to cold.  This condition can affect people at any age, can be mild and occasional or aggressive and frequent.
At The Cosmetic Dentist, we want your mouth to be as healthy and comfortable as possible.  We recommend a customized occlusal guard to help protect your teeth from bruxism.  This will cover the teeth on one jaw and prevent contact with the opposing teeth.  We also recommend that you use a warm moist washcloth on the side of the face to relax the muscles when they are hurting. 
If you think you have bruxism or have questions about it, contact us at

Information in this article is from