Home / Dentistry / How does Clenching and Grinding Affect Dental Health

How does Clenching and Grinding Affect Dental Health

Clenching or grinding your teeth can cause serious problems with your dental health. There are several issues, which could occur from clenching and grinding your teeth.

Most people grind their teeth during times of stress or anxiety. If you find yourself grinding your teeth, during the day while stressed, you immediately become aware of it and are able to stop. This occasional clenching may cause a mild headache or jaw soreness.

Serious teeth grinding, (medical term, Bruxism) most often occurs while sleeping. Your partner may wake you up because the sound is terribly annoying, compared to dragging your fingernails on a black board. However, once you have returned to sleep the grinding continues. You may wake up with a stiff neck, tenderness in your jaw or a severe headache. These symptoms are more serious and require a visit to your Dentist.

Correct occlusion is necessary for the teeth to be aligned properly. The Dentist will be able to determine if you are doing damage to your teeth with persistent grinding. There is a strong chance you can wear the enamel down on your teeth and loose valuable tooth structure.

Chronic teeth grinding can cause serious problems with your dental health. When clenching your teeth on a regular basis, you weaken the tooth structure, which can cause the tooth to fracture.

Grinding can also cause stress to the Temporomandibular Joint and result in a disorder called TMD. This disorder causes problems with the jaw and facial muscles, which control chewing and biting. An injury to the jaw or neck can also result in this disorder causing severe pain in the jaw, head neck and ears.

When this joint is inflamed, it may be difficult to speak, chew or when you attempt to open your mouth wide. Clicking or popping in the jaw is another symptom of TMD. Swelling may or may not occur. In serious cases, there have been reports of the jaw stuck or locked in position. The Dentist may refer the patient to an Oral Surgeon for further evaluation and treatment.

It is important to visit your Dentist every six months for a thorough dental check-up. Grinding and clenching your jaw will cause serious damage to your teeth. The Dentist will do a complete exam and evaluate the overall health of your mouth.

The Dentist can make a dental appliance, which are designed specifically for the patient to prevent the clenching of the jaw. This appliance is called a splint or night-guard, since it is worn while sleeping. These appliances relieve the stress and pressure on the joint.

Basic treatment for TMD includes, moist heat/cold packs, soft foods and anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve muscle soreness and swelling.

Recognize the stress that is causing you to clench or grind your teeth. Begin relaxing techniques and if necessary speak to someone regarding your stressful issues. Grinding your teeth can create serious issues with your dental health. Allow your dental professional to guide you in correcting this dental problem.