Tucson Lifestyle May 2016 : Page 3

Do you often wake up with dull headache or a sore jaw? Do you sometimes find yourself clenching your teeth? Until you experience pain or have a dental checkup, you may not realize that you have a condition called “bruxism,” a habit of grinding or clenching the teeth. People who grind or clench their teeth may wake with a headache, earache, or toothache. Besides causing discomfort, grinding can eventually damage dental restorations, may loosen teeth, and cause damage to the temporomandibular joints. The pressure from clenching and grinding can cause cracks or fractures in the teeth. As the tooth enamel is worn away, the underlying layer of dentin may be exposed. This causes the tooth to become sensitive to temperature changes and pressure. Although the causes of bruxism are not really known, sev-eral factors may be involved. Stressful situations, problems in sleeping, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth may contribute. Regular dental checkups are important to detect damage in the early stages. Your dentist may suggest a night-guard that can be worn while sleeping. Custom-made by the dentist from soft material to fit your teeth, the night-guard slips over the teeth in one jaw and prevents contact with the opposing teeth. The night-guard relieves some of the pressure of grinding and clenching. An abnormal bite, one in which teeth do not fit well togeth-er, may lead to grinding. Treatment may involve reducing the “high spots” on one or more teeth. For serious cases, your den-tist may suggest reshaping or reconstructing the bite surfaces with inlays or crowns. Grinding is a common occurrence for many people at some time or another. If you routinely grind your teeth, schedule an appointment with us so that we can preserve the health of your mouth. Prepared by the ADA Division of Communications, in cooperation with The Journal of the American Dental Association. Jose Beltran Photo Elahe P. Wissinger, DMD Graduate of Boston University, Member ADA 2504 E. River Rd. (Just East of Campbell) EDentalSolutions.net We Accept Dental Insurance 520-745-5496 Dental Solutions

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