What are the effects of teeth grinding?

When you close your mouth, your upper and lower teeth should glide against each other smoothly. They are designed so that they should only touch when you chew you food. If you grind or clench your teeth, it can result in unusual tooth wear, and this teeth grinding may even cause damage to the teeth, as well as leading to conditions in the jaw such as TMJ/TMD.

Some teeth grinding is normal. Everyone grinds their teeth sometimes, when they’re stressed or angry. Whoever, grinding your teeth often or on a regular basis is a dental condition known as bruxism. It’s estimated that nearly 20 percent of Americans have bruxism, grinding their teeth during their waking hours. Another eight percent do so during their sleep. This can have a seriously detrimental effect on your tooth enamel, gums, jaw, and bone.

It was once thought that bite issues were the cause of teeth grinding. Today however, new research suggests that our lifestyle coping methods for dealing with stress and anxiety are the main cause of bruxism. Sleep issues and poor bite are now considered to be secondary causes.

When left untreated, bruxism can result in quite a bit of damage to your teeth, including:

  • Front teeth that are worn flat
  • Broken fillings
  • Cracked teeth
  • Nerve damage
  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Headache and jaw aches
  • Stiff neck muscles and ear pain

Can Bruxism Be Cured?

Bruxism can be treated and managed, but it cannot be cured. There are a number of treatments that can be used to treat bruxism. The most common is a custom-fitted bite plate. This plate acts as a type of bumper between your upper and lower teeth that can be worn day and night. This guard is sturdier than the over-the-counter mouth guards you can buy, and will be better able to absorb the forces of clenching and grinding that can occur with bruxism. Additionally, this professional guard will be custom-made to fit your teeth. Additionally, many softer mouth guards designed to be worn while you sleep can actually make teeth grinding worse.

Other treatments for bruxism include:

  • Stress reduction methods such as yoga, meditation, therapy, etc.
  • Prescription muscle relaxants
  • Orthodontics
  • Adjustments to your prescription medications

About James Kline DDS

My name is Dr. James Kline, and it has been my pleasure to serve the South Bay for 38 years in the same location at Manhattan Beach Dental Center. A California native, I received my pre-dental education at Pasadena Nazarene College. At the age of 21, I started Dental School at the University of Southern California where I was graduated in 1973. As a result of their excellent training, I am very comfortable performing more involved procedures like Root Canal Therapy and Oral Surgery such as Wisdom Tooth Extractions. Continuous training allows me to provide Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry. For your convenience, I have a Dental Laboratory on the premises. This allows me to work closely with the Dental Technician to fabricate the most functional and esthetic Partials and Dentures. I am also able to accommodate emergency Denture Repairs on the spot.As your General Dentist, I care about your dental conditions as it relates to your overall health and well being. Your comfort during dental procedures is my highest concern. I work at your pace and offer free Nitrous Oxide Gas. I remain committed to giving you a healthy and attractive smile with honest and conservative treatment while developing a long term relationship.My hobbies include traveling, fishing, Texas Hold’em, Swimming, and Singing. My passion is Barbershop Quartet Singing which I started at age twelve. It has allowed me to perform in concerts around the world for 40 years. Ultimately my Quartet won the coveted International Barbershop Quartet Championship in 2004. I have two children, both married, and a beautiful baby granddaughter. I have been blessed to serve this community and look forward to doing so for many years to come. I enjoy coming to the office everyday and I’m encouraged the company of my wonderful staff and patients. I look forward to meeting you. At our office, we have a relaxed atmosphere. There’s a open reception area that allows me meet, greet and answer any questions that our clients may have. We have a great play area for kids and many of our adult patients have a great time in our waiting room. On any given day, a spontaneous “party” can happen in the front area while serious dentistry is getting performed. We take pride in getting to know our patients and making them feel comfortable, like family, and not just an anonymous face off the street. This is what sets us apart from any other practice in the area.
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