Novato Dentist Explains Reasons for Teeth Grinding

Written by Dr. McConnell on Jul 28, 2015

Teeth grinding and clenching of your jaw while you sleep can create serious problems with your oral health, including bite misalignment, cracked or chipped teeth, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Some common signs that you grind your teeth during sleep are chronic headaches upon waking, shoulder and neck pain or a sensation that your jaw locks up when opening and closing your mouth.

After a thorough dental evaluation by the Novato Dentist, we can determine the probable cause of your teeth grinding and the treatment approach that’s necessary for preventing long-term damage to your teeth.

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

There are several reasons people grind or clench their teeth (also referred to as bruxing or bruxism):

  • Injury or trauma to the temporomandibular joint.
  • Misaligned dental bite
  • Muscle tension

A misaligned dental bite can cause your back teeth to become unbalanced, resulting in excess force being placed on one side of your mouth. In this case, you do not bite down evenly on all teeth, and the jaw shift from its normal position to bring the rest of your teeth together.

This causes you to clench or grind your teeth on that side of your mouth and puts constant, unnatural force on the joint and surrounding muscles. This is why you experience head and neck pain.

How Do You Treat Teeth Grinding?

In many cases, the Novato Dentist can create a simple custom appliance called a night guard that will reduce this uneven force on your teeth. However, a thorough exam is the best way to assess your situation and determine the underlying cause and best treatment for your teeth grinding and clenching.

If you suspect that your symptoms are caused by teeth grinding, please contact our office. We will discuss your situation and work with you to determine the best course of treatment to address your needs and provide relief.