istock 1080820568Just about everyone, except maybe George Clooney, grinds his or her teeth at times. After all, our bosses, kids, job, and other things can drive us crazy. And the year we just finished had everyone clenching our teeth or grinding, courtesy of this darn virus.

Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, isn’t really any big deal — you have to clench your teeth occasionally when your boss is being a real idiot. The problem occurs when a person grinds his or her teeth regularly. That can create some real problems with your teeth.

At Dental Arts of Hedgesville, Dr. Smith can see evidence of your nightly grinding. He can both address the damage done and help you stop your bruxism.

Why do we do it?

Although some people grind their teeth due to stress or anxiety during the daytime, more often than not it occurs during sleep. More than stress, bruxism usually has its basis in an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. It can also happen during sleep apnea. That’s where Dr. Smith’s specific additional training as a neuromuscular dentist benefits our patients — he’s familiar with the forces being incorrectly applied in a misaligned bite.

So, what’s the big deal with grinding your teeth? They’re tough, right?

Your teeth are strong, but they can be broken down by chronic grinding. Bruxism can lead to fracturing, loosening, and eventual loss of teeth. The grinding can wear the teeth down to the point where they have little value. In these cases, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, even full dentures may be in the grinder’s future.

Severe bruxism also affects your jaws, leading to temporomandibular joint disorder. It can change the appearance of your face.

How do I know if I’m a grinder?

Because most grinding occurs while we sleep, most people don’t know they do it. A dead giveaway is a sore jaw or a dull headache when you wake up. Also, the person next to you in bed can usually hear it.

How do we fix it?

At Dental Arts of Hedgesville, we can stop most bruxism with night guards. We make each night guard custom to each patient, based on impressions we make of your bite. Night guards don’t restrict breathing, but generally stop grinding.

Are you a night grinder? If you have symptoms of bruxism, give us a call at (304) 754-8803, and let Dr. Smith take a look.

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