EXPERT Q&A

Q: A little over a year ago, I started grinding my teeth. Once you begin grinding, is there anyway to actually stop? I have a mouth guard but I find that I'm clenching just as bad, if not worse when I'm wearing the guard.

What our experts say:

If the cause of the grinding is directly related to  an incorrect bite, then you have to address the dental concern that is causing the incorrect bite. Poor fitting dental work, bad joint, loose teeth, shifting teeth are some of the dental concerns that may cause one to grind.  If grinding is stemming from STRESS, then the smart way to diminish or stop grinding is to deal with what is causing the stress.  Seek counseling, increase exercise, cut caffeine, cut alcohol.  You mentioned that when you are wearing your mouth guard, your clenching may be worse.  There is a percentage of people who wear soft guards. They feel as if they need to continually bite through the guard. Clenching does not cease.  If you wear a hard guard, you may need the guard to be thicker. The increased height may shut down the muscle activity. One more tidbit to keep in mind. Not only are there nocturnal grinders and clenchers, there can be daytime activity as well.  If you are “confident” that stress is the culprit, start looking for answers there.

KASARSKY JASON NEA REV

Dr. Jason Kasarsky

Cosmetic Dentist

New York, New York