Chapel Hill Cosmetic and Family Dentistry has your teeth grinding solutions and treatments for the effects of bruxism. Millions of people live with bruxism or teeth grinding. Bruxism is a condition in which you clench or grind teeth. Most people grind their teeth at night and as a result, may not realize that they have a problem. Instead, they may notice that they have headaches, sore jaws, or worn teeth.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the clinical term for a condition where a person grinds or clenches their teeth. Most patients clench or grind their teeth during sleep or when feeling stressed and do not realize they are doing so. Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White look for the common signs of teeth grinding during dental exams.
Signs & Symptoms of Bruxism
Common signs of bruxism include:
- Worn teeth
- Dull or abraded tooth enamel
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Broken fillings and/or crowns
- Headaches, especially in the morning
- Jaw pain or soreness
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
There are many different reasons why people grind their teeth. Your dentist will ask you a variety of questions to help you figure out why. Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs will increase the risk of teeth grinding. Grinding of the teeth can also lead to sleep apnea or acid reflux. Most patients seen at our Chapel Hill dental office suffer from teeth grinding because of:
- Malocclusion (when the teeth do not align properly)
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
- Stress, anxiety, or tension
Treatment for Teeth Grinding in Chapel Hill
There is no definitive treatment for bruxism. At Chapel Hill Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, your teeth grinding treatment will depend on your oral health condition and the presence of any underlying dental concerns. Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White generally prefer an occlusal splint, similar to a mouthguard. You would wear this device at night during sleep to protect the teeth from grinding and clenching.
- Occlusal Splint / Night Guard: An occlusal splint is a removable appliance that should best suited for patients with a balanced bite and healthy TMJ. They are custom made from dental impressions and will fit seamlessly over the teeth. The teeth grinding mouth guard is worn at night or while sleeping to protect teeth from grinding and clenching.
- Orthodontics: If your teeth are not in proper alignment, we may suggest orthodontic treatment to reposition teeth and allow for proper contact and jaw alignment, thus preventing grinding and clenching. We offer the Invisalign clear aligner system to help shift the teeth into proper alignment. Invisalign involves wearing a series of clear aligners that are very discreet. You will switch the aligners out every week and wear them for 22 hours a day.
- Bite Equilibration: Bite equilibration, or bite correction therapy, involves the dentist making minor adjustments to the teeth to allow them to fit together properly, eliminating stress and pressure.
- Restorative Dentistry: Frequent and long term grinding can leave the teeth severely damaged. Once the bruxism is under control, the next step is often to repair the tooth damage or broken teeth. Our Chapel Hill dentist office provides comprehensive restorative dentistry procedures to bring teeth back to optimal health and esthetics. Restorative dental treatments include dental crowns, porcelain veneers, and/or cosmetic bonding.
Can you train yourself to stop grinding teeth?
The best way to train yourself not to grind your teeth is to place the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This exercise helps you learn how to relax your jaw muscles. Also, holding a warm washcloth on your jaw may soothe and relax muscles before sleep.
How do you know if you grind your teeth during sleep?
Patients who grind their teeth may experience pain or sensitivity in teeth, tired jaw muscles, or tender soreness in their jaw, neck, or face. If you are concerned you are grinding your teeth call our office today and we can schedule a consultation!
What causes a person to constantly grind their teeth?
Stress and anxiety are the most common causes of teeth grinding. Patients who drink coffee after 5pm are also much more likely to grind their teeth than those who do not consume caffeine in the evenings.