“Many people grind and clench their teeth while they’re asleep and may not even realize it,” says Doctor Bruce Fine of Fine Dental Care in Wayne. “Clenching and grinding leads to damaged teeth, and a host of other complications,” he counsels. Sometimes people are so unaware they have this condition that they learn they’re grinding from a loved one who hears the grinding at night.
The Unseen Dangers of Clenching and Grinding
Grinding and clenching teeth (medically known as “bruxism”) can be caused by stress, missing teeth, an abnormal bite or crooked teeth, often resulting in teeth being fractured, loosened or at the very worst, the teeth being worn down to stumps. Grinding can also affect the jaw, cause TMJ, earaches, and be a trigger for migraine headaches. Bruxism can even change the appearance of the face by enlarging your facial muscles. If you experience dull, constant headaches, or a sore jaw, you may be clenching and grinding your teeth.
Tension Suppression Dental Appliances May Help
There’s good news for nightly tooth clenches: your dentist can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, and can fit you with a night guard device such as the NTI (Tension Suppression System) dental appliance. NTI stands for “Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibitor”. “For clenching and grinding, I recommend patients wear an NTI Dental Appliance while sleeping. It’s a breakthrough in nightguard design,” says Dr. Fine. “It prevents the teeth from clenching and grinding, and in doing so prevents jaw pain, and even headaches.” The NTI is a small, custom fitted, nearly invisible, removable, acrylic cover for the two front teeth to be worn at night. “The NTI device is fitted to the upper or lower front teeth to provide a flat surface for the lower teeth to rest on which prevents tooth surfaces from clenching or grinding, and helps to relax muscles in the jaw,” says Dr. Fine.
If you suspect you are a nightly tooth clencher and grinder and have any questions, feel free to call Dr. Bruce Fine at his Wayne office, “Fine Dental Care” at (973) 633. 5440. Or for more information, visit www.finedentalcare.com.