Protecting your teeth from nighttime grinding is essential for maintaining a healthy, gleaming smile. Dr. Robert Harrell and his skilled team at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne frequently find themselves delivering the news to a surprised patient that grinding (clinically known as bruxism) is an issue. Telltale indications that can be detected during regular checkups include chronically sore jaw muscles, worn or grooved teeth or enamel, and even recurring headaches (especially when present upon waking). Learn more about bruxism below:


Bruxism is also known as grinding and/or clenching of your teeth. It’s a very common condition that affects approximately 30 million to 40 million children and adults in the U.S.

Signs & Symptoms

If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing bruxism

  • Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles
  • A grinding sound at night, which may disturb the sleep of someone who you share a room with
  • Jaw muscles that are tight or painful
  • Popping or clicking of the temporomandibular joint
  • Long-lasting pain in the face
  • Damaged teeth, broken dental fillings and injured gums
  • Headache
  • Swelling (occasionally) on the side of your lower jaw caused by clenching. Read more at Colgate


The Benefits of a Mouthguard

To limit the damage of bruxism, a custom mouthguard will typically be created by the dentist to protect your teeth. If it’s worn every night as directed, this is a simple but effective solution. Be sure to properly brush and clean your mouthguard every day to prolong its effectiveness. Weekly soaking in a solution designed to lift plaque and bacteria is also very beneficial.

The problem comes when patients don’t get their mouthguards replaced as needed. Some people chew through their appliances a couple times a year, some every few months, while others make theirs last for years. There is really no way to predict how long your custom mouthguard will last. It’s just important that you realize when it’s too worn to serve its purpose. Take time to regularly check for any thin-feeling sections and look for deep groove marks and visible signs of damage. If you think there may be an issue, bring your mouthguard to your next dental appointment and let a professional evaluate it.


Two Ways We Can Help

If you suffer from bruxism, there are two ways Dr. Harrell can help you. To stop the immediate damage to your teeth, he can provide you with a high-quality, custom-made mouthguard. As a permanent solution, you can see him for treatment at Charlotte Headache Center, his specialized practice that deals with jaw related issues, including chronic headaches, migraines, TMJ, chronic earaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and bruxism. Utilizing a type of therapy known as neuromuscular dentistry he can address the misalignment or bite-force issues behind your grinding.

Set Your Bruxism Appointment Today

If you know or even suspect that you may be a nighttime grinder, call us now to schedule a dental checkup. It is vital that we look for signs of bruxism, catch any potential issues early and address the problems that have already developed. Call 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on our website to schedule your appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.