Teeth grinding

Online Dental Education Library

Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Commonly Asked Questions:

I am allergic to latex. Is this a problem?  No, our office is latex-free.

My office just took an x-ray, why do you need to take one?  The more information we gather, the better we are able to care for you and your tooth. Our digital imaging program also allows us to measure the tooth, helping us to treat the tooth more quickly during treatment.

Will I need a crown after my root canal?  Do not be surprised if your dentist recommends a crown when you return to them. The tooth is weaker after root canal treatment and a crown is able to protect against breakage or fracture. If you already have a crown, you may only need a permanent filling.

Will there be pain after the root canal?  You should expect some minor biting and pressure sensitivity for 3-5 days after the root canal treatment. Over-the-counter medications, such as Ibuprofen or Advil, should help alleviate this.

What options does your office offer to help me relax during my treatment?  We are equipped to offer Nitrous Oxide Analgesia, also known as laughing gas. This affects everyone differently. Some patients get very sleepy on nitrous, while others are simply more relaxed. We can also offer intravenous moderate conscious sedation. for more information, please visit our Sedation Options page. If you are interested in either of these options, we would be happy to discuss it with you at your consult visit.

Why do you place a temporary filling?   You will be sore after your root canal treatment. We prefer to place a filling that is occlusally reduced so you do not bite too hard on it while you are healing. You will heal much quicker after treatment if the tooth is not occluded on.  Also, by waiting to have the permanent filling placed, we are better able to diagnose what could be causing symptoms later on.

Why can't I just take Antibiotics?  Antibiotics are carried in the blood stream to problem areas in the body so they can do their job. After a tooth has died, there is no blood flow into a tooth so the antibiotics never reach the source of the problem. Even though antibiotics do not solve the underlying problem, they can still be useful in relieving symptoms.

Also known as "bruxism", Grinding or clenching your teeth and the resulting excessive wear of the enamel can lead to a host of dental problems.

In many cases, teeth grinding occurs unintentionally during sleep. Teeth grinders, or bruxers, often also bite their fingernails, pencils and chew the inside of their cheeks.

About one in three people suffer from bruxism, which can easily be treated.

Teeth grinding over time can lead to hypersensitive teeth. Bruxers experience jaw pain, tense muscles and headaches, along with excessive wear on their teeth. Forceful biting when not eating may also cause the jaw to move out of proper balance.

Signs of bruxism Some of the signs of bruxism include:

  • Tips of the teeth look flat. Teeth are worn down so much that the enamel is rubbed off, exposing the inside of the tooth (dentin).
  • Pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) -the jaw- which may manifest itself as a popping and clicking sound.
  • Tongue indentations. Anger, anxiety, pain and frustration can trigger teeth grinding.

    If your dentist notices signs of bruxism, prescribed therapy may include behavior modification techniques to learn how to rest the tongue, teeth and lips properly.

    Your dentist may also recommend a mouth appliance, such as a bitesplint or "occlusal guard" that is worn at night to absorb the forces of biting. This appliance can prevent future damage to the teeth.

    Biofeedback is sometimes used to measure muscle activity and teach patients how to reduce muscle activity when the biting force becomes too great.