A surprising number of us (more than 50%!!) clench/grind our teeth during the night and even some of us during the day. Some of you may be surprised to learn your children may grind their teeth as well. It is even common for young children to grind, however, there typically is no treatment needed because the baby teeth will end up being lost before grinding would be a significant issue. Older children (12+) that have grinding issues would benefit from treatment because they have all their adult teeth by that point.
We see many people who do both clenching and grinding in our dental office. In many cases, this habit is connected to stress and anxiety. Another common issue that can cause grinding is airway problems such as sleep apnea. Sometimes we don’t know the exact reason why it occurs! The doctors at Mint Hill Dentistry can determine if clenching/grinding is damaging your teeth and develop a strategy to help.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding or Clenching
Many times people are unaware they grind or clench as it happens while you are sleeping. Symptoms can include headache, ear pain, neck pain, limited opening of the jaws, clicking/popping of the jaw joint, tooth pain, and increased tooth sensitivity to cold and chewing. Many times loved ones can hear the grinding sound at night! If this habit continues untreated it can cause:
- Damaged teeth (chipped, fractured, split)
- Tooth loss
- TMJ dysfunction
- Affect appearance of facial structure (very large chewing muscles)
While adults and children may have separate reasons for what causes their clenching and grinding, the treatments are similar. We also offer sleep/sedation dentistry at our dental practice for any of these procedures.
We can make bite guards to be worn at night. These can keep you front grinding your teeth down and help your jaws relax. If someone has chipped/worn/worn teeth from grinding and/or if patients have muscle pain and joint pain the bite guards can help to alleviate the pain.
We offer dental bonding to help fix teeth with minor chips or craze lines. It is a painless and easy procedure and it is very cost effective compared to crowns or veneers. For teeth with more significant damage such as very large chips or fracture lines, then a crown would be needed instead of a bonding.