Nighttime Teeth Grinding FAQs

Night Guards Fresno, CA

Nighttime teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common habit that involves side-to-side movement of the teeth and jaws over each other. Grinding usually occurs at night, and many people are unaware of the condition and do not know that they need treatment. The dentist can provide effective and affordable oral devices to minimize the effects of teeth grinding. This article answers some common questions about nighttime teeth grinding.

What causes teeth grinding?

Nighttime teeth grinding is commonly caused by stress and anxiety. Misalignment of the upper and lower jaw, alcohol intake and sleep apnea can also contribute to the condition. It is vital to seek dental intervention to stop or manage the habit before it causes lasting damages to the teeth.

Can kids have teeth grinding?

Children tend to grind their teeth if they are teething or dealing with ear pain. The movement of the teeth when grinding may somewhat soothe pain. Most of the time, kids will stop the habit on their own, so no intervention is required—unless the habit is causing serious damage to their primary teeth or any preexisting tooth restorations.

What are the symptoms of bruxism?

Most people who grind their teeth do it unknowingly. Usually, it is a sleeping partner or a loved one who notices it after observing or hearing clicking sounds during sleep. The dentist will check for signs of grinding by examining tooth wear patterns and look for receding gum lines. Some of the common symptoms of teeth grinding include neck pain, headaches, jaw pain, tooth damage and insomnia.

What is the damage?

Since most people grind their teeth subconsciously, it is usually the dentist that first detects signs of damage. If the dental professional suspects teeth grinding, they will ask if the patient experiences any symptoms of the condition. If the biting or chewing surfaces of teeth are flattened or deteriorated, it may make teeth highly sensitive, especially to temperature.

In cases of severe teeth grinding, the enamel will be worn down to the next layer of the tooth, which is called the dentin layer. The teeth will be sensitive to temperature, prone to decay and may turn yellow. The enamel will not regenerate once it is lost. The only option is to repair the damage, protect the teeth against further deterioration and alleviate the symptoms.

What treatment options are available?

If the teeth grinding condition is worsened by stress, medications or a medical issue, treating the underlying condition can effectively stop the teeth grinding too. Aside from that, the most effective option is to get an occlusal guard, otherwise called a nightguard.

This piece of plastic or acrylic is custom made for the patient by the dentist. It sits between the teeth to redistribute the force of direct, concentrated pressure to prevent further damage to the teeth. The idea is to have the guard bear the brunt of the grinding instead of the teeth and any crowns or veneers present.

Final note

You should not allow nighttime teeth grinding to destroy your teeth completely. If you have additional questions or are seeking treatment for the condition, book an appointment with the general dentist for a consultation.

Request an appointment here: or call Professional Dental Care at (559) 467-1234 for an appointment in our Fresno office.

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