Teeth Grinding – Do You Do It? Tips on How to Prevent the Damage!

Do you sometimes wake up in the morning with a sore jaw? When you chew, do your teeth and jaw ache? If you grind your teeth, either at night or during the day, you suffer from a disorder called bruxism, and it can be incredibly damaging to your dental and oral health. If you think you’re suffering from bruxism, you should make an appointment with a qualified dentist in Burlington – like the ones at Dental Health Group – to discuss your options. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what causes teeth grinding and what you can do to prevent and treat it.

Bruxism Causes 

Many people who grind their teeth in their sleep start because of stress. They’ll be under a lot of personal or professional stress, and they’ll unconsciously grind their teeth back and forth as they toss and turn through troubling stress dreams.

You would think, then, that the majority of cases of bruxism could be solved by reducing stress and that most of them are actually short-lived. The problem is, according to scientific studies, grinding your teeth as you sleep can become a habit. You may start when you’re under stress, but once the stress is gone, you’ll still wake up with a sore jaw and sensitive teeth.

The same is true of grinding your teeth during the day. You may start grinding when you’re trying to bite your tongue instead of saying something impolite to a coworker or your boss, but if you do this often enough, you’ll find yourself grinding your teeth more and more, whether you mean to or not.

How Bruxism Harms Your Teeth

As you continue grinding your teeth, whether you do it at night or during the day, your teeth will begin to wear down. The pressure and friction from grinding can cause teeth to crack and can even cause them to loosen in their sockets. Bruxism can also irritate the jaw joint, causing TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ). In other words, if you grind your teeth, you need to seek out preventative measures and find a way to treat your bruxism before any permanent damage is done.

Preventing Teeth Grinding 

If you only grind your teeth during the day, you may be able to stop by being very aware of your jaw and how your teeth feel. If you catch yourself grinding your teeth, you can stop and take a moment to massage your jaw joint. This should help you relax and stop grinding as much.
If you grind your teeth at night, a custom mouth guard or splint from your dentist may be a comfortable option. This will help relax your jaw and keep your teeth from grinding together. After wearing a guard or splint for a while, you may find that the habit has faded and that you don’t need to wear it any longer. 

Treating Bruxism

In addition to preventative measures, you may need to get some dental treatment to correct damage to your teeth. This can include veneers, crowns, inlays, or onlays, among other treatments. Basically, once you’ve addressed the grinding problem, your dentist will want to correct any damage to your teeth and give you back your gorgeous smile.

When to Consider Braces – Adults and Kids

Are you thinking about braces for yourself or your kids? It may be time to visit your dentist to talk about when and what kind of braces are right for you or your child. You have a lot more choices than you did when you were a kid, and you may be a candidate for Invisalign or another option.

Furthermore, you should know when and what kind of braces to consider for your child, as well. If you get them braces too early, their mouths may still be developing, and orthodontic treatment may not be as effective. Read on to learn about braces for kids and adults, including the different types available, when to consider them, and how long they need to be worn. Everyone can benefit from a perfectly aligned smile.


Correcting Your Bite at Any Age 

First, in addition to the aesthetic advantages of braces, they also help align your teeth and correct your bite. This can greatly reduce wear and tear on your teeth, giving you better dental health for the years to come.

Aligning your bite can also help reduce or eliminate TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder, also called TMJ), which is a big factor in bruxism (teeth grinding) and can be very painful and hard on your teeth. So, before you write braces off as a purely superficial treatment, consider how much correcting your bite can help your dental and overall health in the long run.


Braces for Adults 

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see a perfectly aligned smile with beautifully even teeth? If you’re like most people, you weren’t born with that perfect smile. If you didn’t get braces while you were in middle school or high school, you probably have a few teeth that are out of place or misaligned, and you probably wish for a straighter smile.

Even if you did get braces back in the day, though, teeth have a tendency to settle back into place over the years. Your once straight and beautiful smile could be right back where it was before you ever visited an orthodontist. Whether this is the case or you just need some minor straightening, you may be hesitant to go through the whole process of getting braces again.

After all, when you think of your years wearing braces, you probably imagine how awkward you felt and how difficult it was to talk without a lisp. Furthermore, you probably aren’t too excited about giving presentations at work with a mouth full of metal brackets and rubber bands. Fortunately, though, you may not have to go through all of that again because you may be a candidate for Invisalign or other options for straightening your teeth that don’t involve traditional braces.



If you have mild to moderately misaligned teeth, you are most likely a candidate for Invisalign or porcelain veneers. With Invisalign, you’ll have an impression taken of your teeth, and custom, invisible trays will be made to fit over your teeth and slowly bring them into alignment. Your first trays will fit almost exactly over your teeth as they are now, and each set of trays will be progressively closer to bringing your teeth into perfect alignment. You’ll wear each set for approximately two weeks, taking them out only to eat or drink beverages other than water. 

The whole process usually takes about 12 months, but may take more or less time, depending on how much your teeth have shifted and how much straightening they need. 

If your teeth are only slightly misaligned, you may be a good candidate for an even faster solution with porcelain veneers. These very thin porcelain shells are shaped to fit perfectly over your teeth and can be made to correct unevenness, gaps, and/or minor crowding for a beautiful smile. The whole process usually takes only two visits, and the results can be amazing. 

If your teeth are moderately to significantly misaligned, you may want to opt for ceramic braces that are less noticeable than metal braces, or you may be able to choose braces that fit to the backs of your teeth and will be completely hidden from sight.


Braces for Kids 

While most children get braces in middle school or high school, you may want to consider braces for your kids earlier than that. As we mentioned earlier, braces can help avoid many dental and oral health issues for both kids and adults, and starting the process earlier rather than later may decrease your child’s odds of developing bruxism, TMD, and other disorders.

There is no set age when children should get braces, but a good dentist in Burlington – like the dentists at Dental Health Group – can make observations about your child’s teeth and help you determine the best time to consider braces. All kinds of environmental and genetic factors can play into whether and when a child may need braces, including but not limited to:

  • Early loss of baby teeth
  • Injury or trauma
  • Adult teeth coming in crooked under baby teeth that have not fallen out yet
  • Thumb sucking
  • Nail biting
  • Bruxism
  • TMD

Most kids won’t be candidates for Invisalign or veneers, as their mouths are still developing. While Invisalign can correct the alignment of teeth and veneers can correct their appearance, neither can correct a child’s bite as well as braces with brackets and rubber bands. That said, kids can opt for ceramic braces or braces that fit on the backs of their teeth. Your child could get all of the benefits of braces without ever looking like they have a mouth full of metal.

No matter which style of braces you and your child choose, you can typically expect your child to wear braces for two to four years, though this time does vary. How long your child has to wear braces will depend a great deal on how early they start the process and how much correction is necessary.

Talk to your dentist in Burlington about braces for yourself and/or your child at your next appointment to find out about all of your options for a straighter, more beautiful smile.