Are you damaging your teeth while you sleep? Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw at night can be very bad for your smile, but luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent problems. Dr. Sam Malouf, your St. Clair Shores, MI dentist at Malouf Family Dentistry, discusses grinding and clenching occur and explains what you can do to correct the problem.
Your teeth are more powerful than you may realize
You exert considerable pressure on foods when you bite and chew. Unfortunately, you exert the same amount of pressure when you grind or clench your teeth. If grinding or clenching becomes a nightly habit, you may experience:
- Cracks or fractures in teeth
- Enamel erosion, which can lead to tooth decay
- Shortening of teeth
- Damage to veneers, crowns and bridges
- Broken fillings
- Loose teeth or implants
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
Do you have any of these grinding symptoms?
Unless someone notices that you grind your teeth at night, you may not realize that you have a problem. Common signs and symptoms of grinding include:
- Jaw stiffness or soreness
- Morning headaches
- Facial pain
- Sensitive teeth (due to enamel erosion)
- Popping sounds when you open your mouth
Help is available
Methods used to prevent damage from grinding or clenching include:
- Custom-Made Nightguards: Your St. Clair Shores dentist will take an impression of your mouth, which will be used to create a nightguard. The nightguard absorbs the forces generated by grinding and prevents damage to your teeth.
- Breaking the Habit: If you grind and clench at night, you may also do it during the day. If you notice yourself grinding or clenching, try placing the tip of your tongue loosely between your teeth to stop the habit.
- Braces: If you grind or clench because your teeth aren't properly aligned, orthodontic treatment can be helpful.
- Sleep Apnea Devices: Grinding can also be a problem if you have sleep apnea. Special appliances are available that move your jaw forward slightly when you sleep, making grinding impossible.
Don't let grinding damage your teeth. Call Dr. Malouf, your St. Clair Shores, MI dentist at Malouf Family Dentistry, at (586) 772-9020 to schedule an appointment to learn about your options.