Unconscious grinding, gnashing, or clenching of teeth at night (known as “bruxism”) can be severe enough that it damages tooth enamel and leads to jaw disorders (including malocclusion). This condition is often caused by stress and can lead to damaged teeth, headaches, insomnia, and a sore jaw. Before the orthodontist can begin treatment to correct a malocclusion (“bad bite”) caused by nightly tooth-grinding, it is necessary to bring bruxism under control with stress-reduction training and the use of a mouth guard. Recently, researchers at the University of Florida developed a mouth guard with sensors that detect bruxism, measure the force it exerts on the jaw, and identify the teeth that are most affected, information that orthodontists will find very useful.
Bruxism can develop at any age, and is often associated with stress, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or even missing teeth. It’s important to have regular dental checkups to detect damage in the early stages. To schedule a free orthodontic consultation please call Fredericksburg Orthodontics at 540-898-7211. Our office is located at 10618 Spotsylvania Ave. (Lee’s Hill Center on Rt. 1 South). Our hours are Monday through Friday with evening appointments available.
P.S. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers from bruxism.