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Redmond Medical Center
8301 161st Ave NE, #305
Redmond, WA 98052

425.885.5529 (p)
425.885.2024 (f)

Office Hours:

Mon-Thurs:  8am - 5pm


Brian J Dillon DDS PLLC is a BBB Accredited Dentist in Redmond, WA

TMJ (TMD) / Bruxism


What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition characterized by the grinding of the teeth and is typically accompanied by jaw clenching.

Most people probably grind and clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications can arise.

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?

Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth.

How Do I Find Out if I Grind My Teeth?

Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. However, a dull, constant headache or sore jaw is a telltale symptom of bruxism. Many times people learn that they grind their teeth by their loved one who hears the grinding at night.

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, please don't hesitate to ask us about it. We can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and abnormalities in your teeth.

Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?

In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear their teeth down to stumps. When these events happen, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be needed.

Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, result in hearing loss, cause or worsen TMD/TMJ, and even change the appearance of your face.

How is Bruxism diagnosed?

Often patients become aware of this condition from a routine dental examination. Dentists can quickly recognize the signs of bruxism due to the shortened and blunted teeth being ground down.

What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?

Generally you can be fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.

Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:

Do Children Grind Their Teeth?

The problem of teeth grinding is not limited to adults. Approximately 15% to 33% of children grind their teeth. Children who grind their teeth tend to do so at two peak times -- when their baby teeth emerge and when their permanent teeth come in. Most children lose the teeth grinding habit after these two sets of teeth have come in more fully.

Most commonly, children grind their teeth during sleep rather than during waking hours. No one knows exactly why children grind their teeth but considerations include improperly aligned teeth or irregular contact between upper and lower teeth, illnesses and other medical conditions (such as nutritional deficiencies, pinworm, allergies, endocrine disorders), and psychological factors including anxiety and stress.

Grinding of the baby teeth rarely results in problems. However, teeth grinding can cause jaw pain, headaches, wear on the teeth, and TMD. If your child's teeth look worn or if your child complains of tooth sensitivity or pain, you should bring him in to the dentist for a full examination.

Specific tips to help a child stop grinding his or her teeth include:

Ask your dentist to monitor your child's teeth if he or she is a grinder.

No intervention is usually required with preschool-age children. However, older children may need temporary crowns or other methods, such as a night guard, to prevent the grinding.

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