The Bad Habit: Grinding And Clenching Your Teeth When Sleeping

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The Damage It Can Cause: “Grinding can wear down the tooth enamel, causing your face to sink and sag due to lack of support. It can also cause you to look 10 to 15 years older than you really are,” warns Fort Lauderdale, FL, cosmetic dentist Yolanda Cintron, DMD. “Clenching the back teeth is equivalent to putting 900 pounds of pressure on them per square inch, and 200 pounds per square inch on the front teeth,” she says. When they are clenched, the upper and lower teeth grind against each other, causing their sharpness to fade and offsetting your natural bite. Chronic grinding can also cause the jaw muscles to contract, disrupting the way teeth come together and causing ear pain, headaches and chronic facial discomfort. Dr. Goldstein advises, “Your teeth should never touch unless you are eating. When the jaws are relaxed, the rule is: lips together, teeth apart.”

Did you know?

Usually people who adopt one bad habit are more likely to have multiple bad habits. So pay attention to your daily routine, as you can be aging your smile without even realizing it. And be sure you don’t give up if you’re having trouble breaking free from old behaviors. On average, it takes between two to three months to break a bad habit.



If your teeth require complete reshaping, crowns, which encase the entire tooth, are more appropriate. For more appealing results, you may want to consider all-ceramic crowns. The newer versions are so strong that they can be placed on the posterior teeth as well. And if your bite requires even stronger crowns, the core can be made of Zirconia. Crowns, like veneers, are resistant to stains and wear, but both can chip or break as a result of grinding. While appliances can be made for teeth that have veneers (if grinding is a problem), it’s usually the back teeth that are affected the most, which don’t necessarily require veneers because of their inconspicuous location. Since veneers are thin, they have the potential to pop off, which is why it’s so important to control grinding before undergoing a cosmetic procedure. 

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