While bruxism is typically associated with grinding the teeth, it can also include clenching the teeth. Like grinding, teeth clenching is most often performed at night or as a subconscious habit while you are sleeping. However, many people also clench their teeth and jaws in the daytime as a response to stress, during heavy concentration or while exercising heavily. Long-distance runners are known to finish a race with sore legs as well as a sore jaw from clenching while running.
It may be easy to understand the consequences of grinding your teeth, as the constant back and forth action across your teeth is quite abrasive. However, the effects of clenching are less obvious, but equally detrimental. Did you know that when you clench your teeth, the pressure you are exerting is almost 10 times the force of normal biting and chewing? It is no surprise, therefore, that chronic teeth clenching can result in the following issues:
- Damaged teeth (worn down enamel, chipping, etc)
- Damaged or loose dental work (crown, filling, bridge or implant)
- Sensitive teeth
- TMJ disorder (sore, stiff or popping jaw)
How to Fix Teeth Clenching?
If you notice the above symptoms on a regular basis, you may need to monitor yourself for a teeth clenching habit. While a custom nightguard can be worn during the night to prevent clenching and grinding while you sleep, the habit must be addressed differently during the day.
The first step is to let your dentist know. At Crabapple Dental, we listen to your concerns and work hard to determine the root cause of your bruxism. We investigate contributing factors such as stress/anxiety, misalignment and other possible causes. From there, we can develop a more strategic and effective treatment plan. For some, it may be finding ways to lower your stress levels each day. Other patients may need orthodontics to correct a misalignment issue that is causing unnecessary strain on your bite. Regardless of the cause, we want to help you retain the comfortable smile you deserve! Request an appointment at our Alpharetta office today.