Dr. Sherman has training in the diagnosis and treatment of bite-related concerns and common symptoms such as teeth grinding, or bruxism. Although stress can often be a factor in patients who grind their teeth or clench their jaw, in most cases, there is an underlying bite problem.
Dr. Sherman will evaluate all aspects of your occlusal system which includes the teeth, the gums, and the jaw joints. The jaw joints, or TMJ, can become damaged or dysfunctional due to trauma or an imbalance in the bite that results in muscle tension. This can lead to teeth grinding and a range of other symptoms. Identifying the cause early on is the key to lasting TMJ treatments that will improve your overall dental health.
Do I Grind My Teeth?
Dr. Sherman will look for the common signs of teeth grinding during your routine dental visits, which can include:
• Worn teeth: teeth that appear “flat” has often been ground down by teeth grinding.
• Chipped, cracked teeth: the pressure that teeth grinding places on biting surfaces can lead to chips, cracks, and damage.
• Changes in the fit of the bite: over time, teeth grinding can cause the teeth to shift and may impact the function of your bite.
• Clicking or popping jaws: the jaw may jump or pop when opening or chewing as teeth grinding increases muscle tension.
Other signs that you may be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw can include jaw pain (especially in the morning), a feeling of “tired jaws”, ringing in the ears, neck or shoulder pain and even headaches. Discuss any symptoms or concerns you have during a routine visit or consultation with one of our Silver Spring dentists. Treating teeth grinding is important for restoring the stability of your oral health, the function of your bite and improving your overall comfort.
Teeth Grinding: Treatment Options
We will evaluate the condition of your dental health with a comprehensive exam and diagnostics as needed to look for the underlying cause of your bruxism, including a TMJ disorder. Damage to the teeth or gums should also be addressed as a part of your treatment plan for the best possible result.
The most conservative and common treatment approach for teeth grinding and jaw clenching is the use of an oral appliance or night guard. A custom-made mouth guard is typically worn at night to reposition the jaw and allow the muscles to relax. This appliance will fit much like a sports mouth guard, and can also be worn when feeling stressed to prevent teeth grinding. Over time, in the absence of more complex dental concerns, a mouth guard will allow the jaw to function normally and reduce muscle tension and associated pain.
We may recommend restorative treatments to repair tooth damage or address how the teeth make contact when biting. For patients with malocclusion that is affecting the bite, we offer orthodontic treatment with invisible braces to straighten teeth.