Have you noticed that the edges of your teeth are sharp, worn or chipped? Do you have a headache or sore jaw when you wake up? If so, you could be grinding your teeth while you sleep without even realizing it.
Teeth grinding, called bruxism by dentists, is a condition that affects millions of people, most commonly caused by environmental factors such as stress. A mild case of teeth grinding may not require treatment, rather simple stress relieving techniques and lifestyle changes. Chronic, long term teeth grinding, on the other hand, is serious and can lead to major problems including jaw disorders, headaches and damaged teeth.
Signs and Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
- Worn, flattened, fractured or chipped teeth
- Worn tooth enamel
- Tooth sensitivity
- Jaw pain or tightness in the jaw muscles
- Facial pain
- Damaged tissue on the inside of your cheek
Teeth Grinding Causes
Stress is the most common cause of teeth grinding. Patients who have stress induced teeth grinding may benefit from biofeedback, yoga, anxiety medication, or other methods of stress relief. Other teeth grinding causes may include:
- Malocclusion (improper alignment of teeth)
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
- Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease
- Anxiety, anger, or tension
Treatment For Teeth Grinding
There are a number of treatment options for people affected by bruxism. Dr. Cobb will conduct a thorough orofacial pain and bite analysis to diagnose the root cause of your teeth grinding. One of the first steps in teeth grinding treatment is to stop the patient from grinding or clenching the teeth. In most cases, Dr. Cobb uses a mouthguard or night guard to stop teeth grinding. The next step is to correct the source of the problem, be it malocclusion, environmental factors, or a temporomandibular disorder, commonly referred to as TMJ. Finally, Dr. Cobb will repair any damage that has occurred as a result of teeth grinding.
- Teeth Grinding Mouthguard – One of the most common teeth grinding treatments is a teeth grinding mouth guard. This is a customized, removable appliances made to fit over your teeth and prevent teeth grinding. Mouth guards are typically worn at night, though some patients do benefit from wearing mouth guards during the day particularly in high stress situations such as while driving.
- Bite Alignment Therapy – Dr. Cobb provides a broad range of services to correct the causes of teeth grinding. Improper alignment of teeth (malocclusion) is one cause for teeth grinding. The alignment of teeth can be corrected using invisible braces such as Smart Moves. Dr. Cobb may also use dental crowns, porcelain veneers or dental implants.
- Cosmetic Dentistry to Repair Teeth Grinding Damage – Chronic teeth grinding often leaves teeth worn, chipped or broken. Once the harmony is restored to the bite and teeth grinding is prevented with a mouthguard, the next focus is on repairing damage caused by teeth grinding. Dr. Cobb may use cosmetic dentistry procedures such as dental crowns, porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding to restore beauty and function to teeth.
Patient Stories: Teeth Grinding
“I had always considered my smile my best feature but years of teeth grinding left my teeth weak, chipped and broken. I was no longer comfortable opening my mouth to talk, let alone to smile. I thought the ‘new’ teeth wouldn’t be an improvement or would look ‘fake’. Dr. Cobb worked quickly and was extremely thorough and precise. The results were even better than I imagined! I get compliments on my smile and my beautiful teeth again.” – Rosalie, Washington, DC
Schedule a Consultation
If you are searching for a local dentist to treat teeth grinding, contact Andrew C Cobb, DDS in Washington, D.C. We gladly welcome new patients and out of town patients. Call us at 202-455-0901 or request an appointment online.