Teeth grinding is a common condition in which someone grinds or clenches their teeth. It often, but not always, happens during sleep, so the person isn’t even aware of it. It’s a potentially serious condition, but at Durham Dental Group it is treatable, too.
By one calculation, as many as forty million Americans grind their teeth. The technical term for it is bruxism. It’s called nocturnal bruxism in those who do it while they sleep. Many people grind or clench their teeth when they’re awake. The prevailing view is that most of it is stress-related.
Whatever the cause, people with severe teeth grinding can damage dental fillings. It can also damage their teeth. Grinding can wear away layers of enamel and expose the underlying dentin, which can result in sensitive teeth.
Severe bruxism is also associated with:
- Headaches in the morning
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMD)
- Facial pain
In the case of children, more than half of them stop grinding their teeth on their own by the time they’re thirteen. In teenagers and adults, it can last longer
Professional counseling can help teeth grinders, if their grinding is related to stress. A more direct and pragmatic approach is using a special mouth guard. Known by various names, such as a night guard or night splint, they’re like an athlete’s mouth guard. Worn over the upper teeth, they provide a cushion between the teeth to prevent damage.
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