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Get the Facts on Teeth Grinding and Clenching Dr. Lichtenstein

Get the Facts on Teeth Grinding and Clenching Dr. Lichtenstein

If you wake up with sore, sensitive teeth or jaw pain, you may be unknowingly grinding or clenching your teeth. This common condition is known as bruxism, though many simply refer to it by grinding.

Many reasons may cause a person to grind or clench their teeth. Teeth grinding often happens unconsciously, most frequently during sleep. Stress and anxiety are common triggers. Other causes can include misaligned bites, sleep disorders, or other medical conditions. Sometimes medications are a factor too. Even everyday habits like chewing gum or an uneven bite when chewing can lead to tooth grinding.

Unfortunately, there are both short and long-term effects to grinding. In the short term, grinding or clenching leads to symptoms like headaches, earaches, pain, and soreness in the jaw muscles and teeth. It can disrupt sleep for both grinding patients and their bed partners. The long-term toll can include permanent damage like cracked teeth, receding gums, and worn-down tooth enamel.

People of all ages can develop either condition at any point in their lives, but it occurs most commonly in older children through middle age. About 70% of kids grind their teeth due to misaligned baby teeth. In adults, work and personal stress drive many cases. Up to 15% of adults grind their teeth severely enough to require treatment.

It’s important to see your dentist if you suspect you’re grinding your teeth. They can check for signs of bruxism and possibly fit you with a custom night guard. Reduce stress through exercise, meditation, therapy, medication, or other relaxation techniques. Train yourself not to clench or grind during the day. Corrective treatments realign the bite, relax jaw muscles, and address other causes like sleep apnea.

Do not take grinding or clenching lightly, it often causes permanent problems! Sometimes the condition leads to damaged teeth, gum recession, wear on enamel, needed dental work, and TMJ joint pain requiring physical therapy. Pay attention to unexplained symptoms and have them evaluated promptly to avoid substantial dental damage from unchecked grinding and clenching. Addressing it early leads to the best outcomes long term.

Protect your smile by talking to your dentist about this widespread issue if you have symptoms. With proper treatment, most cases of teeth grinding can be well controlled.

For over twenty years, Dr. Lichtenstein has provided attentive and compassionate care while ensuring the best results for his patient’s oral health. Additionally, his team has extensive experience working with caregivers and patients with unique needs to create a smooth visit, from appointment booking and tracking to day of care and follow-up. If you or a loved one suffers from grinding or clenching, reach out today!

Dr. Lichtenstein’s office is in Holmdel, NJ, adjacent to Bayshore Hospital

Phone: (732) 739-3337


ADDRESS: 723 North Beers Street, Suite 1A Garden State Medical Arts Plaza Holmdel, NJ 07733


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