grinding teeth clenching teeth bruxism

Our own sleep habits can remain a mystery to us. We may need a disgruntled partner or roommate to enlighten us to the truth about something mild, like snoring, or something more serious, like grinding or clenching teeth. Fortunately, our West MI dentists can help provide you with a custom night guard if you suffer from the latter.

Bruxism is the act of grinding or clenching your teeth, especially at nighttime. Many people who suffer from bruxism can be completely unaware that they have an actual, treatable health condition. In fact, studies have shown that as many aseight percent of adults and a third of children grind their teeth at night.

While a complaint from an outside observer can be helpful, it’s not the only form of diagnosis. There are other signs you can watch out for if you think you may suffer from bruxism.

Here’s what you need to know about excessive teeth grinding or clenching.

Signs You May Clench or Grind Your Teeth

Grinding or clenching can result in serious problems for your teeth if left untreated. If you think you may engage in these behaviors, keep on the lookout forsymptoms such as:

  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Tense jaw muscles and jaw pain
  • Popping or clicking sounds in your jaw

Beyond these symptoms, there are other signs of bruxism that our dentists are trained to find, including:

  • Dental attrition (loss of tooth hardness caused by clenching, grinding, or chewing)
  • Tooth abrasion (loss of tooth hardness caused by something other than attrition)
  • Worn tooth enamel

Keep in mind that if you’re unsure whether you’re battling bruxism, the only way to be certain is to see one of our dentists and get a proper diagnosis.

Treatment Options Available

If you grind or clench your teeth, you might be wondering what your options for treatment are. Well, it depends on the extent of the damage caused to your smile before diagnosis. Our dentists will need to perform an oral examination to gauge the

Common next steps in terms of treatment for bruxism can include:

  • Getting a night guard: Night guards form a barrier between your teeth to prevent grinding. Although similar to sports mouth guards, night guards are built to protect your teeth from injury while you’re sleeping. Our dentists will take impressions of your teeth and customize a night guard just for you. They’ll make sure it fits well and doesn’t bother you while you sleep.
  • Fixing your chipped teeth: If bruxism has already damaged your teeth, you’ll need to get them fixed before you get fitted for a night guard. Our dentists use dental crowns to fix broken or fragile teeth.
  • Getting treatment for TMJ pain: If you suffer from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (also known as TMD), it may be due at least in part to bruxism. Your temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. The force that grinding and clenching your teeth puts on your jaw can result in TMJ pain. Our dentists can treat your TMJ disorder along with your bruxism.

Put an End to Bruxism Pain Today

Ideally, you want to catch bruxism before it’s done too much damage. If you suspect you might be grinding or clenching your teeth at night, don’t delay. Our experienced  family dentists in West MI can help you stop grinding or clenching your teeth. Call one of our MI Smiles Dental locations today to schedule an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.