What Is Grinding/Clenching?

Do you clench or grind your teeth at night? How do you know if you do? These are all really common questions that we dive into with our patients. Typically, patients will report that their spouse says that they grind their teeth at night. However, often this can happen in an insidious way that no one would know. There are many ways that you can learn if you clench or grind your teeth. A simple way to check to see if you clench or grind your teeth is to take a look at your front teeth. Do they have chipped areas? Do they look “flat” across the bottom edge? These are signs that you clench and grind at night.

Luckily, this habit can be fixed with a simple solution. We often encourage our patients to invest in a custom night guard to protect their teeth at night when they sleep. This is a very simple way to not only protect the teeth but also to prevent more expensive and time consuming dental treatment down the road. Simply put, a custom night guard is a piece of plastic that you can grind into instead of destroying your teeth. Without this nightguard, you will produce irreversible damage to your teeth that will likely need treatment at some point.

In addition, some patients that grind and clench their teeth have an underlying sleep related breathing disorder that causes snoring or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Luckily we have invested a great amount of time and resources into learning more about sleep apnea dentistry and how we can help you in your journey to protect your teeth without putting your airways at risk. With our patients that snore, we always suggest doing a sleep study prior to any oral appliance to rule out any sleep related breathing disorders that could be exacerbated by a traditional nightguard. Thankfully, we have take-home sleep studies right here in our office that you can use in the convenience of your home.

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