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Clenching & Grinding
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What is it?
What Causes It?
Do Not Ignore the Signs
Columbia City Office
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What is it?
clenching and grinding often occurs while sleeping, but can also occur throughout the day
patients are not always aware that it is occuring, but is usually evident upon examination by a dentist
teeth can become severely worn, eventually chipping and fracturing
the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can be damaged from such habits
often occurs more frequently during times of high stress
occurs in both children and adults
How is it treated?
there are many different philosophies for treating a clenching and grinding habit
the main concern is to protect the teeth, which is done using a "bite guard" or "bruxism appliance"
these can be made of various materials from a firm plastic to a pliable resin depending on the case
guards are generally not recommended for children because the teeth positions are constantly changing and a guard would only fit for a short time
if grindind at night, be sure to spend 30 minutes before bedtime in a calming activity such as taking a bath or reading a book . . . and not television watching or video games
if children continue to grind day and/or night, it will commonly subside without incident before permanent teeth are affected . . . exfoliating baby teeth will make the clenching and grinding uncomfortable and thus often dissipates at this