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Are you grinding your teeth? | Dr. Andrew Cobb

Teeth grinding can be a common symptom of stress as well as a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), and can often go unnoticed until it causes damage to the teeth or painful symptoms begin to be experienced. Most patients grind their teeth during sleep and are unaware that they are doing so in many cases.

Dr. Andrew Cobb often notices the signs of teeth grinding, known as Bruxism, when patients are examined during preventive care visits:

  • Teeth that are worn, have chips or flat edges
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Jaw pain or tightness in the jaw muscles
  • Earache
  • Headache and/or facial pain
  • Cuts or damage to the inside of the cheek or tongue

Once Dr. Cobb has determined that there are signs of bruxism, he will perform a thorough evaluation of the patient’s occlusal system in order to create a treatment plan that will bring long lasting and effective results. Teeth grinding can lead to complex dental problems including gum disease and tooth loss. It is important to correctly diagnose the underlying cause of teeth grinding to bring a patient’s occlusal system back into balance. Dr. Cobb has extensive post graduate training in the areas of bite disorders and TMJ, which includes the treatment of bruxism and its effects.

For patients who grind their teeth in response to stress, lifestyle changes may be the most helpful in reducing teeth grinding. This may include exercise and relaxation therapies such as meditation or yoga.

There are several types of treatment options for patients who grind their teeth and Dr. Cobb will take the time with each patient to create a personalized plan of treatment that is best suited to their dental health issues:

splint therpay/nightguard: this is a conservative avenue of treatment that is worn at night to prevent tooth grinding;
orthodontics: Dr. Cobb may suggest the use of braces to properly align the teeth;
bite equilibration: bite correction therapy will involve subtle adjustments to the teeth to restore balance in the bite.

For more complex cases, or situations where teeth are damaged, a restorative procedure may be recommended to bring the bite back into proper alignment and prevent teeth grinding and its effects.

If you have noticed the signs of teeth grinding, contact Dr. Cobb in his Washington, DC dental office and schedule a consultation.