Grinding / TMJ

TMJ night guard in case

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the habit of clenching and grinding one’s teeth. Nocturnal bruxism is grinding and clenching of one’s teeth at night while they are asleep. This is often a subconscious habit and can be related to other sleep disturbance issues.

Do I Grind or Clench my Teeth?

Most people clench or grind their teeth on occasion. Occasional tooth grinding or clenching is not a huge problem. Continuous grinding or clenching while you sleep, known as bruxism, can lead to a multitude of dental problems.

Do you know the average human can generate close to 200lbs per square inch of force? And at night, without the conscious ability to stop, that number can more than double! Night after night of chronic bruxism can have the following effects on your teeth:

  • Cold sensitivity. This is usually the first sign that something is wrong. If you start noticing that cold beverages, ice cream or even taking a breath of cold air causes you discomfort, bruxism may be the cause.
  • Ear pain. Many people mistaken ear pain as an ear infection, when really their bruxism is the cause. Pressure gets placed in you TMJ (temporomandibular joint)
  • Headaches, especially when you wake up.
  • Jaw pain, especially when you wake up
  • Pain when chewing.
  • Tooth fracture……. which is the most difficult condition to treat.

Night guards

In our office, every employee wears some type of night time appliance to protect their teeth. There are many options. If you have any of the above symptoms, you should set up a consult.

Over the counter night guards are fine for short term use. They are a great way to see if your symptoms improve while wearing one. However, our experience has shown that long term use of an over the counter night time appliance can cause changes in your bite, which can lead to possible orthodontic needs. Contact the office if you have any questions.

115 Budlong Road
Cranston, RI 02920