A: Most people will occasionally clench and grind their teeth together. Doing so from time to time usually will not cause harm. However, when done on a regular basis. clenching and grinding can damage teeth. Frequent grinding can cause teeth to wear down significantly, fracture, loosen and can lead to premature tooth loss. Not only can chronic grinding damage teeth but it can also impact the jaw joint, the TMJ.
Most clenching and grinding occurs during sleep, so many people do not know that they grind their teeth. Having dull headaches and sore jaw joints, especially in the morning, could be symptoms of chronic grinding. Your dentist may notice signs of grinding as well.
A common, non-invasive treatment for grinding is a mouth guard that can be worn while sleeping to protect your teeth and your jaw joints. There are many different types of guards available. Talk with your dentist to find out which kind may be right for you.
Information provided by Julie Smith, DDS, Johnston Dental, 5541 NW 86th St., Suite 100, Johnston, 276-2500.