Bruxism, the clinical term for grinding or clenching your teeth, may be something you do while sleeping and you are completely unaware of it. Many patients at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne who are diagnosed with Bruxism have no clue that they experience this ailment until they have a routine check-up and we tell them. Smoothed out grooves in the molar surfaces and telltale grinding evidence can be found during an oral hygiene exam. Some of these patients report that they have been waking up with headaches and sore jaw muscles — common symptoms of Bruxism. Dr. Robert Harrell and his team at Adult Dentistry want you to know that if you are suffering from this condition, help is available.

Let’s learn more about Bruxism before we continue…

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to awaken your sleep partner
  • Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw or face pain or soreness
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles
  • Pain that feels like an earache, though it’s actually not a problem with your ear
  • Dull headache originating in the temples
  • Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
  • Indentations on your tongue

When to see a doctor

See your doctor or dentist if:

  • Your teeth are worn, damaged or sensitive
  • You have pain in your jaw, face or ear
  • Others complain that you make a grinding noise while you sleep
  • You have a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely

If you notice that your child is grinding his or her teeth — or has other signs or symptoms of bruxism — be sure to mention it at your child’s next dental appointment. More details at Mayo Clinic
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The Bad News About Teeth Grinding

While stress may be a trigger for certain individuals and some may be overcompensating for their misaligned jaw; many Bruxism sufferers have no clue as to why they are suddenly grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw. They may be suffering from Sleep Apnea or Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder (TMD). Severe tooth sensitivity can set in and may be noticed during the scaling portion of your regular dental exam. Clenching down on your teeth or grinding away precious enamel can lead to exposed root surfaces and trigger sensitivity to hot and cold, wind exposure and discomfort during brushing.

You might be surprised to learn how prevalent Bruxism is.

How Many People Have Bruxism?

Bruxism is a very common condition, though there’s some disagreement on how many people are bruxers.

One in three people suffer from bruxism, according to one study, but another puts the number much lower at around eight percent of the population. The condition can range in severity from infrequent clenching to outright mashing; a small number of people, roughly 10 percent of bruxism sufferers, grind so hard their teeth are reduced to nubs, and they eventually need to have reconstructive surgery. Keep reading at Arizona Family Dental

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Mouth Guards Prevent Tooth Damage

Dr. Harrell will make you a custom mouth guard to wear at bedtime. This will stop the damage from the behavior. During this process, impressions are taken of your teeth and a perfectly fitted appliance is made at the lab. Your night guard is slim and unobtrusive and there is no chance of swallowing or choking on it. The guard gives your teeth a soft surface to grind against, which protects them from wear. Left unaddressed, Bruxism can result in the need for extensive restorative and cosmetic dentistry.

If it has been a while since you’ve had a complete dental exam, contact Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne today to schedule a visit with Dr. Harrell. He is recognized as one of the city’s top dentists year-after-year by Charlotte Magazine. Call Adult Dentistry now at 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on this page to make an appointment.