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What are the signs of teeth grinding? | Annapolis, MD

Do you grind your teeth?

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, can be a common sign of a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), commonly called TMJ, and frequently goes unnoticed until it causes damage to the teeth or painful symptoms begin to be experienced. Most patients grind their teeth during sleep and are unaware that they are doing so in many cases.

Dr. Scott Finlay, a highly trained dentist in the field of complex bite disorders, often notices the signs of teeth grinding when patients are examined during preventive care visits:

  • Teeth that are worn, have chips or flat edges
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Jaw pain or tightness in the jaw muscles
  • Earache
  • Headache and/or facial pain
  • Cuts or damage to the inside of the cheek or tongue

Once Dr. Finlay has determined that a patient is grinding their teeth, he will perform a thorough evaluation of the patient’s occlusal system using some of the latest dental technologies, in order to create a treatment plan that will bring long lasting and effective results. Teeth grinding can lead to complex dental problems including gum disease and tooth loss. It is important to correctly diagnose the underlying cause of teeth grinding to bring a patient’s occlusal system back into balance.

There are several types of treatment options for patients who grind their teeth and Dr. Finlay will take the time with each patient to create a personalized plan of TMJ therapy that is best suited to their dental health issues:

splint therpay/nightguard: this is a conservative avenue of treatment that is worn at night to prevent tooth grinding;
orthodontics: Dr. Finlay may suggest the use of braces to properly align the teeth;
bite equilibration: bite correction therapy will involve subtle adjustments to the teeth to restore balance in the bite.

For more complex cases, or situations where teeth are damaged, Dr. Finlay may recommend a restorative procedure to bring the bite back into proper alignment and prevent teeth grinding and its effects.