Are You Grinding Your Teeth?

Man Grinding His Teeth

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the clenching or grinding of teeth. It’s a fairly common habit with about 1 in 3 exhibiting the behavior, yet most don’t even realize they’re affected. That’s partly because bruxism can occur while sleeping at night, but also because the habit develops subconsciously, usually due to stress or anxiety.

Recognizing the problem is the first step, and many patients can make great improvement by simply learning to position teeth, tongue, and lips properly. Some people mistakenly believe that teeth must touch all the time. Instead, teeth should rest a little apart, with the tongue slightly upward and lips shut.

Part of every checkup involves looking for physical signs of wear caused by clenching or grinding, and we may observe your condition over several visits to monitor the severity. If left unchecked, bruxism can wear down enamel and make the tips of teeth look flat. Eventually, teeth can become more sensitive as the dentin (interior tooth structure) is exposed, and teeth may also be more prone to chips, cracks, and decay.

How to Treat Clenching and Grinding

  • Learn to position teeth, tongue, and lips properly. Teeth should rest apart, with the tongue slightly upward and lips shut.
  • Reduce stress. You might not be able to do anything about having a stressful job, but try to find outlets for relief such as exercise, meditation, yoga, fishing or any hobby you enjoy!
  • Get enough sleep. A big part of stress is related to sleep—either by not getting enough of it or by having an irregular sleep schedule. You can’t make up for a lack of sleep by “sleeping in” on a later date, so get to bed on time, you’ll thank yourself in the morning!
  • For bruxism during the day, learn to recognize when it’s happening and chew something else! Sugar-free gum or a healthy snack such as an apple can be a good way to relieve some “mouth-stress.”
  • For bruxism at night, we can create a custom-fitted acrylic night guard that prevents any further damage. We take an impression so the fit of the mouth guard is very precise, and the material is very thin and comfortable to wear at night. Contact us today for a consultation!

About Dr. Jayson A. Chalmers

Jayson Chalmers was raised in Placerville, CA and graduated from El Dorado High School. He received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley. He went on to receive his dental degree from the University of California, San Francisco. After practicing as an associate dentist in Napa, CA, Dr. Chalmers returned to Sacramento to be closer to friends and family. He began practicing in his current location in January 2005.   Knowing that patients want to have the best options and treatment available to them, Dr. Chalmers has completed many hours of advanced educational training in general, implant, orthodontic, and cosmetic dentistry. He continues to learn and incorporate many of the latest dental technologies in his practice. Through the use of intraoral cameras, digital x-rays and computer imaging he can immediately show and explain all treatment options to the patient.   Dr. Chalmers is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, the Sacramento District Dental Society, the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and is involved in local dental study groups. Dr. Chalmers also is an active participant in Smiles for Kids, where free dental services are provided to local children in need.   Dr. Chalmers and his wife, Desirae, are the parents of Ella and Ava. They are an outgoing family and are very involved in the Arden-Arcade community. As a family, they enjoy tending to their chickens and organic garden, splashing around in the pool and traveling to beachside locations. Dr. Chalmers personal interests include camping and fishing and watching and playing most sports.

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