There are many ways we exhibit anxiety and stress, such as nail-biting or restlessness, but one way that may go unnoticed is the grinding and clenching of our teeth while we sleep.

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can also be caused by sleep disorders or tobacco and alcohol use. In fact, there are many reasons why someone may be grinding his or her teeth at night, and kicking the habit could take longer than you think. Luckily, dentists have developed treatments and preventative methods so your teeth don’t need to suffer in the meantime.

The main preventative measure for teeth grinding is to wear a mouth guard. Although mouth guards won’t prevent the clenching of the jaw, they will minimize the damage done to your teeth if you are grinding them every night. They do this by absorbing and dispersing the force of your bite, protecting the enamel in your teeth from sustaining too much damage.

Although mouth guards are effective in protecting your teeth, they are only a preventative measure. If you have been grinding and clenching your teeth for some time, you may have to seek treatment for the damage; especially if your bite is misaligned. The alignment of your bite, also called occlusion, is an important aspect of oral health. In fact, improper occlusion has been known to cause the following complications:

• Damage to the teeth, gums, and/or jawbone
• Recurring or chronic pain
• Difficulty speaking
• Temporomandibular joint (the two joints connecting your jawbone to your skull) disorder 

Thankfully, trained and experienced periodontists such as Dr. Grant King and Dr. Mitchel Godat offer bite therapy, which consists of carefully and skillfully realigning the way in which your upper arches, lower arches, and individual teeth within each arch interact with each other. Using bite therapy, we can greatly improve your bite, significantly lessening (if not altogether eliminating) jaw pain, and decreasing the risk of damage to your smile.

How It Works

Here are a few methods we might recommend, should you have issues with your bite:

  • Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP): LANAP uses a specialized laser to stimulate bone growth, eliminate damaged tissue, and lessen the depth of gum pockets that surround each tooth.
  • Orthodontics: the shifting of teeth into their proper positions, resolving issues such as misaligned bites, overbites, and underbites. It may be necessary to administer periodontal treatment before the orthodontic treatment, in order to ensure the teeth are supported by strong and healthy gum tissue.
  • Occlusal Adjustment: the reshaping of the biting surfaces. Occlusal Adjustment makes the pressure of your bite even on all surfaces of your teeth, preventing any one area from receiving a harmful or painful amount of pressure.
  • Tooth Splinting: an adhesive material is used to act as a splint, bonding loose teeth together and keeping them in place while the bone forms a healthier grip on the tooth.
  • Full Mouth Reconstruction: this method is used especially for damaged crowns, fillings, and dental bridges causing improper occlusion.

As you can see, there are many ways to fix your bite, and Periodontal Associates of Memphis can help you find out if you need it, and what treatment is right for you. So, if you have been grinding and clenching your teeth or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, make sure to schedule an appointment with us today.

  • An uneven bite, or uneven pressure
  • Worn, fractured, or sore teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Teeth grinding or clenching

Also, be sure to follow us on social media, where we keep you updated on all the latest information necessary to keep your smile happy and healthy!