Are you clenching?

June 19, 2013 | Posted in Clinicians Corner | Be the first one to comment

Could you be clenching or griding your teeth? Many people do whether awake or asleep and do not even recognize the action. The action of clenching or grinding is referred to as bruxing in the medical/dental world. Bruxing can cause problems with the temporomandibular joint, fracturing of teeth and or current restorations, sensitivity, wearing of the teeth, gum recession, and of course overall discomfort in the head and neck area. If you think you may be clenching or grinding, please call us today or mention it at your next recare visit.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you wake up with a dull headache, earache, tooth or jaw pain?
  • Do you have tenderness in the jaw joint, neck or facial muscles especially upon wakening?
  • Are your sleep patterns being disrupted?
  • Has your partner told you they hear you grinding your teeth?
  • Do you have general sensitivity?
  • Do you have noticable wear on your teeth?
How is bruxing treated?
       The cause of your particular clenching is something to be considered before treating your bruxism. Do you clench in stressful situations, times of anxiety, due to a misalignment or malocclusion, or maybe as a side effect to certain medications? We recommend you start paying attention to when you are clenching so this can be better determined.

Possible Treatment recommendations:
  • Bruxing guard (either OTC or custom fabricated)
  • Massage techniques
  • Warm moist heat alternating with ice on the joint/facial muscles
  • Bite adjustment
  • Referral to orthodontist or oral surgeon (in extreme cases)
We almost always recommend a bruxing guard to the clencher because it allows the joint to relax and keeps the teeth seperated. This alleviates pressure in the joint and facial muscles and reduces the possibility of tooth wear and or fracture due to clenching.

If you feel you may be clenching, please schedule an evaluation or mention the possibilty at your next recare visit so we may recommend the appropriate treatment.

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