Grinding/Clenching
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Many people grind or clench their teeth and are often unaware of it.  Although teeth grinding (bruxism) and clenching may happen at any time, it often happens in one's sleep.  Stress is one possible cause, but often the reason is not known.

Damage Caused by Grinding

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Chipped enamel

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Flattened, grooved, worn-down teeth

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Loosened teeth

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Bone loss (periodontal problems)

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Cracked teeth

If grinding/clenching is left unchecked, it may lead to jaw muscle or joint problems and even tooth loss.

Symptoms of Grinding

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A sore, tired jaw

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Headaches

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Earaches

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Sensitive teeth

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Many people have no symptoms

Possible Treatments

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NTI-tss (Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension Suppression System)

This is a device that helps prevent clenching and grinding.  It is quite small and fits over your two front teeth.

Most patients find the NTI-tss device much more comfortable than a traditional occlusal guard.  It has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of migraine and tension type headaches as well as for clenching/grinding.  It works on a simple principal which you can try at this time.  Place your hands on the side of your head and clench your teeth.  You will feel the muscles bulging as you do this.  Now, remove one of your hands and place a finger between your front teeth and attempt to clench again.  You will find that you are unable to flex your clenching/grinding muscles.  Click here for more specific information about NTI-tss devices.

 
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Occlusal Guards

A traditional occlusal guard is a device that fits over either all your upper or lower teeth and protects them from the damage of grinding/clenching.  It is worn at the times when you're most likely to grind your teeth.  Click here for more information and home care instructions.

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Keller Thermofit Occlusal Guards

A Keller Thermofit occlusal guard is a device that fits over either all your upper or lower teeth and protects them from the damage of grinding/clenching.  It is worn at the times when you're most likely to grind your teeth. It differs from a traditional full guard in that it has a soft liner that makes the fit more comfortable.  

 
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Sleep position and gum chewing

Avoid sleeping on your stomach.  Sleeping on your stomach forces your head to be turned to the side, which may allow significant muscular strain.

Discontinue all gum chewing.

 
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Stress reduction

Stress is suspected in many cases of bruxism.  At times of stress we develop increased motor activity, particularly in our sleep.  Reducing stress may help relax the jaw muscles and make grinding less likely.  Exercise often helps in stress reduction.