Are you a teeth grinder or clencher?

Teeth grinding and clenching, chicagoGrinding and clenching of teeth is a disorder that many people do not know they have. It’s an involuntary action that often occurs while you are sleeping, and the clencher is often not aware that it is happening. The condition is normally first noticed by someone else who can observe you while you sleep.

 Grinding your teeth is a warning sign of possible Sleep Apnea or UARS

These sleep disorders contribute to chronic pain and a host of other medical problems.  Evaluation for Sleep Disordered Breathing should always be considered in patients with bruxism.

Nevertheless, this is a sleep disorder that could benefit from medical evaluation for a potential TMJ problem. The clenching episodes are not normal and they could be an indication of an underlying medical problem, which may be more severe than you realize.

Grinding can take a toll on your teeth

Night time teeth grinding is common, and many people grind their teeth while sleeping on a minimal basis. However, people who experience daytime teeth clenching are probably having gripping episodes during sleep also.


What is Bruxism and what is a bruxism appliance.

Bruxism includes the spectrum of clenching, of the teeth, grinding of the teeth, the very destructive form of clench and grind where the heaviest forces are placed on the teeth.  Bruxism can cause severe tooth wear as well as fractured restorations and even breaking of teeth.  Vertical fractures from bruxism can be painful and difficult to diagnose.  Abfractions (often misnamed cervical erosion)are stress fractures along the roots of the teeth at the gum line that can be extremely sensitive, especially to cold.

While this is not exactly a dangerous condition, it can still be problematic. Teeth can get gnashed or damaged in a variety of ways, especially if the condition is chronic. Even momentary clenching can cause tooth wear if it occurs on a regular basis. A bruxism appliance may be recommended to prevent ongoing damage to your teeth.

A bruxism appliance is made to be worn during sleep to prevent damage caused by clenching and grinding.  It is not the same as an orthotic designed to treat TMJ nor is it a treatment for sleep disordered breathing or sleep apnea.  The bruxism appliance is designed to absorb the forces of wear from the teeth. Because the plastic is softer than the teeth the plastic wears down instead of wearing down teeth.

The real trouble is that the clenching and grinding is an indication or possible cause of a TMJ disorder, which can easily lead to other physical problems such as migraines or other types of pain.  Patients who have pain only upon awakening should consider a bruxism appliance.  If the pain comes  and goes through the day or appears later in the day the presence of a TMJ disorder or TMD should be investigated.

What is TMJ?

The TMJ, medically termed as the temporo-mandibular joint, is located just below the ear and is a very complex part of the body. TMJ problems can lead to pain in the jaw, teeth, ears, and eyes. Some severe TMJ disorders even lead to TMJ headaches, often misdiagnosed as migraines.

Just because pain is experienced in a specific region does not mean the causation is local. The muscles and tissue surrounding the TMJ are stronger than most people realize because the mouth is used constantly during the course of a day. People tend to take this body function for granted, but it is clearly one of the most important things we do on an ongoing basis.

TMJ can cause a host of problems

TMJ disorders can also lead to other medical and dental problems.

  • An asymmetrical mouth can result in a bad bite, the inability to chew food properly, and damaged teeth.
  • Pain can develop in a range of places, including headaches and sore muscles down the back or chest.
  • Since the ear is located immediately above the TMJ, painful symptoms can also include the ear.

TMJ problems as well as airway problems can be treated with a DNA

Appliance and Epigenetic Orthodontics.

When there are problems caused by a narrow mouth and /or nose, breathing obstruction or significant crowding  the underlying structural problems can be addressed by orthopedically growing the upper and lower jaw bones and Pneumopedically growing the airway.

Protect your teeth whatever  the underlying cause

If you are experiencing clenching or grinding teeth, seek medical attention from a TMJ dental professional for an assessment in designing a personal TMJ orthotic that can provide some relief from this potential sleeping problem.