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Bruxism, the Unknown Habit

Woman with BruxismIt’s such a common habit, yet most of the time we never know we’re doing it. Not cracking your knuckles or biting fingernails, but intense clenching and grinding of your teeth—known in dental terminology as bruxism. The reason this phenomenon goes unnoticed so often is that “grinders” usually perform when they’re sleeping.

Most research agrees that nighttime clenching is just a way of releasing tension.

From what we see in the office, there’s more than a few tense people out there.

The most common signs and symptoms of bruxism appear as clicking or sore jaw joint (located in front of the ear, known as the TMJ) and abnormal wearing of teeth enamel.

Continuous grinding and clenching can be detrimental to the jaw joint and cracks and chips can develop in the teeth.

We often suggest a dental nightguard. This appliance is a clear piece of plastic customized to fit over the biting surfaces of our bottom teeth. When wearing a nightguard, many patients feel relief from jaw tension. And the protective nature of the appliance reduces tooth wear.

If you’re curious about our approach to this common habit, let me know the next time you’re in the office or give us a call. And give yourself a break—relax.

About William J. Black, DDS

William Black earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then went on to the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry, where he graduated in 1992. Following dental school, Dr. Black served in the Untied States Navy for 3 years as a dentist. He then settled in the Sacramento area where he opened his practice in 1996. Dr. Black is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), Sacramento District Dental Society (SDDS), Academy of General Dentistry, and American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He is currently pursuing Mastership with the Academy of General Dentistry and accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

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