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Dental and Oral Health Center

Grinding my teeth

12/15/2006

Question:

The last time I went to the dentist, he told me that it looked like I grind my teeth, but I wasn`t sure if I did or not. Last weekend, I stayed at a friend`s house and they told me I was making noise that sounded like I was grinding my teeth.

Sometimes when I wake up my jaw hurts. Could that be from grinding my teeth? If so, what should I do about my teeth grinding?

Answer:

Grinding your teeth is a very common problem for many people. Some people grind all of the time while others grind infrequently, usually when under increased stress. Most people who grind or brux are somewhere in between.

Bruxism may cause very little damage or may cause extensive wear to your teeth and sometimes to your temporomandibular joint or TMJ. TMJ dysfunction can be debilitating and lead to many serious problems. The most common initial treatment is to fabricate a bite or night guard that will protect your teeth and often relieve the muscle soreness caused by the bruxism.

Since your dentist noted the effects of grinding, you should contact him/her and inform them that your friends have noticed you grinding at night. Also, relate the resulting pain. Your dentist may suggest a bite guard. The way your teeth come together may also effect how much you grind. Ask your dentist if they think that orthodontic treatment or braces might help solve this problem. The key is to act now while the effects of your bruxism seem to be controllable.

Related Resources:

Bruxism

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Response by:

D Stanley Sharples, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University