What to Do About Teeth Grinding in Salem, OR

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What causes teeth grinding?

Tooth grinding (known by the medical term bruxism) is quite common, particularly in children. While 50% of kids will grind their teeth at some point, about 25% or less of adults suffer from tooth grinding. Bruxism generally comes in 2 forms:

  • Daytime – People may clench their jaw and grind their teeth during the day, often as a result of stress.
  • Nighttime – During sleep, it’s common for jaw muscles to flex causing teeth to grind. Most people won’t be aware of this form of tooth grinding unless someone tells them about it. They may notice headaches and jaw pain in the morning, but won’t be able to pinpoint the cause on their own.

The root cause of both forms of tooth grinding can be hard to determine. The good news is that bruxism usually goes away on its own. But when it doesn’t, it can affect your dental health.

What can happen if I grind my teeth too much?

Generally speaking, your teeth should only touch when you’re chewing food. At rest, there should be a slight gap between your top and bottom teeth. Too much tooth grinding can cause teeth to wear prematurely and can result in chips and cracks in your teeth. During dental checkups, we’ll assess your teeth and talk to you about tooth grinding.

Is tooth grinding causing my TMJ pain?

Pain in the jaw joints, known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, can be triggered and exacerbated by jaw clenching and tooth grinding. If we can stop you from grinding your teeth, that will often resolve any TMJ pain you’re feeling, too.

What is the best option to stop grinding teeth?

Younger kids tend to “grow out” of grinding their teeth pretty quickly. It’s still a good idea to let us know so we can monitor the health of your child’s teeth. Adults often find that grinding and clenching are associated with periods of stress and that either eliminating the stress or meditating/relaxing can help, too. Additionally, lifestyle changes, like avoiding caffeine after lunch, might be part of how to stop grinding teeth. 

But if we see that bruxism is an ongoing issue, there are options. First, a custom mouthguard/night guard can help keep you from biting down and grinding your teeth at night while you sleep. If there’s already damage to your teeth, then veneers and crowns or bonding treatments can be used to strengthen the tooth. This can also reduce the risk of severe chips, cracks, and fractures.

Will dental insurance pay for tooth grinding treatments?

Most forms of dental insurance do include some coverage for mouthguards and other tooth grinding treatments. If you come to Healthy Smiles Family Dental in Salem, be aware that we work with most insurances and offer a variety of flexible payment options, including CareCredit. There’s even an in-office savings plan to help you reduce the cost of your care if you don’t have insurance.

Financing & Payment Options

We offer CareCredit and discount plans through Principal and Carrington. Our office can also arrange payment plans with automatic withdrawals from your bank account.

Whether you have dental insurance or not, we’ll help you get the general dentistry treatments you want and need at a price you can afford. 

Become a patient at Healthy Smiles Family Dental

A healthier you starts right here. We’re looking forward to meeting you and your entire family. Schedule your consultation today at our Salem dentist office.

Have questions? Call (503) 315-2500. We hope to see you soon!

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4392 Liberty Rd S,
Salem OR 97302

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