From the Blog

Teeth Grinding

Dental attrition (Bruxism) resulting in loss of tooth tissue

Frequent headaches? Jaw or neck pain? Difficulty chewing?

These can all be signs that you are grinding or clenching your teeth, a dental condition called bruxism. In most cases, this is occurring either during sleep or a stressful situation and patients are not aware that it is happening. Many adults grind their teeth unknowingly during sleep or when under stress. It is even common for athletes during intense play. For most it is a natural reaction to stress, but can also be a result of a more serious dental condition.

During a comprehensive dental examination, Drs. John and Jeremi Arroyo look for the signs of tooth grinding such as worn teeth and chipped or cracked teeth. Our Washington DC dentists have extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of teeth grinding. Common symptoms of bruxism often go unnoticed until a tooth has become severely damaged, loose or is causing pain due to infection.

Bruxism Signs and Symptoms

  • Frequent headaches
  • Earaches and neck pain
  • Jaw pain and tenderness
  • Worn, chipped or flat looking teeth
  • Locked jaw

There are a variety of ways to treat teeth grinding, depending on the status of dental health and the cause. The most common is a custom mouthguard to be worn at night or during stressful situations which will prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching and reduce or eliminate the associated symptoms. For athletes, wearing a custom sports mouthguard can alleviate stress put on the teeth during play- this has also been shown to improve performance.

Dr. Arroyo may recommend restorative dental procedures such as dental crowns, tooth bonding, or orthodontics to realign the bite if necessary, as well as to repair damage from bruxism that can compromise the integrity of the teeth. Our dentists emphasize the importance of maintaining oral health, including keeping the natural teeth for as long as possible. Treating bruxism will relieve symptoms that can affect daily life and restore your dental health.

Addressing bruxism as early as possible is the key to preventing or limiting tooth damage and restoring oral health. Dr. John and Dr. Jeremi Arroyo offer several treatment options for patients who grind their teeth, depending on the severity of their particular case. Treatment options can include:

  • Mouth Guard/Splint Therapy: in many cases, a custom fit mouthguard is recommended to be worn during sleep or times that teeth grinding may occur (such as stressful situations).
  • Restorative dentistry: to repair damaged teeth, tooth bonding, dental crowns or dental veneers may be recommended to restore dental health and realign the bite.
  • Orthodontics: for patients who could benefit from mild to moderate orthodontia, Drs. Arroyo are Washington Invisalign providers. Invisible braces can quickly and conveniently realign the teeth and alleviate bite problems that are the result of crooked teeth.
  • Occlusal Equilibration: restoring balance to your bite often requires adjusting the surfaces of the teeth to allow them to come into proper contact. Drs. Arroyo can use a range of dental procedures to reshape the fit of the bite by removing or restoring tooth structure.

Schedule an Appointment

Treating tooth grinding can relieve painful and debilitating symptoms such as frequent headaches and restore lasting dental health. We conduct a thorough examination for the signs and symptoms patients may be experiencing. Dr. Arroyo can identify the root cause of bruxism, enabling him to recommend a plan of treatment that can provide comfortable, lasting results and restore oral health.

If you have been avoiding the dentist but are concerned that you may be grinding your teeth schedule a visit with Dr. John or Dr. Jeremi Arroyo. We are accepting new patients, and work with patients who suffer from dental anxiety. We can help you get back a comfortable, healthy smile.


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