If you grind or clench your teeth, you’re in good company. Research shows up to 8% of adults have chronic grinding and clenching habits, and up to 50% of kids are affected, too.
At Rozenberg Dental NYC on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lana Rozenberg, DDS, helps patients break their grinding and clenching habits with custom care plans aimed at improving their oral health and wellness.
Grinding and clenching aren’t just annoying habits. Without treatment, chronic grinding (or bruxism) and clenching can increase your risk of developing serious health problems, including:
Here are five things you can do to break your grinding and clenching habits and avoid more serious issues.
Every time you grind or clench, you put hundreds of pounds of pressure on your jaws and teeth. Night guards provide cushioning and protection to reduce jaw strain and prevent tooth damage. Dr. Rozenberg offers custom night guards for better fit, greater comfort, and better sleep, too.
You probably know Botox for its ability to smooth out wrinkles around the eyes, brows, and forehead, but it’s also widely used in dentistry to help reduce grinding and clenching that can lead to TMJ.
Botox is a neuromuscular agent, which means it works on the nerve signals that cause your facial muscles to clench, or tense up. Botox injections in the jaw area help prevent the muscle contractions associated with clenching and grinding during the day and while you sleep.
Easier said than done, right? A lot of people clench and grind as a way of releasing stress, especially during their sleep. Meditation, yoga, mindful breathing, and similar activities can reduce stress before it has a chance to damage your teeth and jaw muscles.
Exercising your jaws can help relieve stress that builds up in the muscles while also keeping your jaws more flexible and less tense.
An exercise to try: Open your mouth wide while touching your tongue to your front teeth. You can also gently massage your jaw muscles during the day to relieve strain.
Uneven tooth surfaces, poor tooth alignment, gaps between teeth, and even missing teeth can all cause your jaw muscles to work harder as they try to bring your teeth and jaw into alignment.
Having these issues corrected with restorative treatments like crowns, veneers, tooth reshaping, or Invisalign® aligners can rebalance your bite and optimize your jaw mechanics, so you’re much less likely to grind and clench.
Even though grinding and clenching are fairly common, many people don’t realize they’re affected, because a lot of grinding and clenching happens while we sleep. In fact, the only clues we may have are symptoms we feel in the morning, like chronic headaches or face or jaw pain.
Fortunately, Dr. Rozenberg is skilled at detecting the telltale signs of bruxism. During routine dental exams, she looks for uneven tooth wear, gum recession, and other signs of grinding and clenching, so you can get treatment before serious oral health problems develop.
If you have any symptoms of bruxism, don’t delay treatment. Call or book an appointment online at our New York City practice to learn how Dr. Rozenberg can help you break your habits and enjoy a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles.