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Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a common complaint and a habit that can cause significant dental and health problems. The team at Pennsylvania Dental Sleep Medicine, serving the communities in Central PA can help get to the bottom of your teeth grinding and find relief. The process begins with an initial appointment that you can request online or by phone today.


What is Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)?

Bruxism is the medical term used to describe grinding, clenching, or gnashing your teeth. Some people perform these habits during their waking hours, but bruxism most often occurs while you’re asleep. 

Many men and women live with bruxism, but some have no idea they are experiencing the condition. Like snoring or sleep apnea, your sleep partner or family members may have a better idea of your nighttime habits than you do. 

How Do I Know if I’m Grinding My Teeth at Night?

In addition to reports of teeth grinding, symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Clicking or popping of jaw joints
  • Dull headache
  • Sensitive or loose teeth
  • Sore or tender gums
  • Aching in your ear, shoulder, or neck
  • Anxiety or depression

If you notice several of these symptoms, schedule a diagnostic exam to determine if bruxism is to blame. 

What are the Risks of Teeth Grinding?

Nighttime teeth grinding is more than an annoyance; it’s also a serious health and dental concern. Left untreated, you can eventually cause significant damage to your teeth, gums, and temporomandibular joint. 

If you wear away your tooth enamel, your teeth are at risk of developing cavities. Grinding or clenching can also change the alignment of your bite, placing undue pressure on surrounding teeth and the underlying bone. Damage to your jaw can lead to long-term pain as well as difficulties with speech and eating habits. 

What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth? 

One of the most frustrating aspects of teeth grinding is the fact that it occurs while you’re asleep. That leaves you with little control over the habit. 

Oral appliances called clenching splints are a great way to prevent teeth grinding. Pennsylvania Dental Sleep Medicine creates these devices to achieve a custom fit, and you wear them over the surface of your upper or lower teeth like a retainer or sports mouth guard. 

The material of the oral appliance protects your teeth from the effects of grinding. The device also helps hold your jaw in proper positioning as you sleep, preventing you from placing excess pressure on your teeth or jaws. 

When you’re ready to explore treatments to put an end to bruxism, schedule your appointment with us or by calling our office to speak with a member of the administrative staff.