How do I know If I grind my teeth and why does it matter if I do?

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also knows as bruxism, occurs mainly at night subconsciously and is when we grind our teeth side to side, forward and back in an unfavorable manner.


We don’t know the exact cause but it is correlated with stress levels and can also be worse in individuals with poorly aligned teeth and bite. We can’t do much to stop it from happening, as it is a subconscious habit. We do however want to protect the teeth from the damage this grinding causes.


Signs you are grinding

  • Pain in your jaw and ears
  • Temple headaches
  • limited mouth opening
  • sleep disruption
  • Sound of grinding heard by others


Complications of Grinding

  • chipping and breaking of teeth and restorations
  • change in bite position
  • painful exposed tooth nerve endings from wear
  • loosened teeth


The solution to this problem is for you to wear a nightguard. A nightguard is an appliance that covers either your top or your bottom set of teeth and is set in a smooth flat plane for all teeth to grind evenly and smoothly along. This appliance will not stop you from grinding but the wear will be into the nightguard itself instead of the teeth. The smooth flat bite plan created in the appliance also allows the lower jaw to shift into its most relaxed neutral position at night and relieve pressure and inflammation within the jaw joint. This will help alleviate the associated jaw, ear and neck pain as well as headaches.


If you suspect you may be grinding please call your Whitby Dentist and come in for a consultation. We will be able to visually assess the pattern of wear on your teeth and guide you as to whether a nightguard is the right fit for you. You can reach us at 905 436 2400.

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