Teeth Grinding Chapel Hill, NC

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 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. They can look at the teeth, gums, and jaw using dental X-rays.

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

Common signs that accompany teeth clenching and grinding can include:

  • Worn teeth
  • Dull or abraded tooth enamel
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Broken fillings and/or crowns
  • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • Jaw pain or soreness

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know if you grind your teeth. This is because you can unconsciously grind your teeth during sleep. However, paying attention to tooth, jaw, and face pain is essential.

Contact our dentist when you notice a change in the comfort of your teeth or jaw. Treating teeth grinding early can prevent multiple problems, including chronic jaw pain and headaches. 

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

There are many different reasons why people grind their teeth. Your dentist will ask you various questions to help you figure out why. 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 Disorder (TMD)
  • Stress, anxiety, or tension

Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs will increase the risk of teeth grinding. This is because these substances can increase your anxiety and activate your muscles. Teeth grinding can also lead to sleep apnea or acid reflux. Addressing teeth grinding can also help minimize the discomfort you experience with related health issues. 

Treatment for Teeth Grinding in Chapel Hill, NC

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 any underlying dental concerns. We can also measure your bite force to determine which treatment you need. Measuring your bite helps us understand if you grind your teeth evenly or experience wear on one side more than the other.

Treatments for teeth grinding often include:

Occlusal Splint/Night Guard

Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White prefer an occlusal splint, similar to a mouthguard. You can wear this device at night to protect the teeth from grinding and clenching.

An occlusal splint is a removable appliance 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. Wearing an occlusal splint at night or while sleeping to protect teeth from grinding and clenching.


If your teeth are not aligned properly, we may suggest orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics can 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 weekly and wear them for 22 hours daily.

Bite Equilibration

This process is known as bite correction therapy, which helps create an even bite. Treatment involves our dentist making minor adjustments to the teeth to allow them to fit together properly. This eliminates stress and pressure on the jaw joints and facial muscles.

Treatments included in bite correction therapy can consist of braces, Invisalign, or dental crowns. Fixing tooth wear, damaged teeth, or crooked teeth can minimize the chance of teeth grinding. However, we will not recommend Invisalign if you have severe bruxism. If your crooked teeth contribute to bruxism, we may recommend braces to create a straighter smile and a more balanced bite. 

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, or cosmetic bonding.

Teeth Grinding Bruxism treatment procedure infographic

Teeth Grinding FAQs

Learn more about teeth grinding with answers to these common questions:

Can you train yourself to stop grinding your 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 the following:

  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Tired jaw muscles
  • Tender soreness in the 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 grind their teeth constantly?

Stress and anxiety are the most common causes of teeth grinding. Patients who drink coffee after 5 pm are also much more likely to grind their teeth than those who do not consume caffeine in the evenings. Caffeine can increase jaw and teeth clenching because it is a stimulant.

How do you treat tooth damage from teeth grinding?

We recommend dental bonding or dental crowns if you have worn, broken, or chipped teeth due to teeth grinding. Bonding uses tooth-colored materials that we apply to damaged teeth. Crowns fully cover single teeth like caps. Tooth crowns act as a protective covering. 

Stop Teeth Grinding Today

Prevent tooth wear and relieve jaw discomfort by treating teeth grinding in our Chapel Hill, NC, office. Call Chapel Hill Family and Cosmetic Dentistry at 919.736.6175. You can also schedule a dental appointment online.