Beverly Hills · Dubai
310.273.0111

« Back to Blog

Category: Bruxism

How to Stop Grinding Teeth

Man Putting In Mouth GuardDoes your jaw ever feel sore when you wake up in the morning? If so, you could have bruxism. People with bruxism frequently grind or clench their teeth together. Since this can significantly damage the teeth, here are some tips to help you stop grinding your teeth. If bruxism has already led to notable tooth damage, dental bonding or porcelain veneers can restore your smile.

Why Grinding Teeth Is So Bad

Your jaw and mouth muscles help you chew and speak, so it isn’t surprising that they are some of the strongest muscles in your body. Factors such as stress, anxiety, or anger can cause you to clench your jaw from time to time, which means that these incredibly strong muscles are putting excessive force on your teeth. On occasion, this doesn’t cause serious damage, but for people with bruxism, the regular clenching or grinding of teeth can affect not only your dental health but also your overall well-being. Consistent wear can lead to cracks, chips, tooth loss, headaches, earaches, receding gums, inflammation in the jaw, and lockjaw.

Tips to Help You Quit

1. Get a Mouth Guard

Grinding teeth is particularly common at night. Since you can’t control your movements while you’re sleeping, a mouth guard can protect your teeth at night. While this will not prevent teeth grinding, the mouth guard will take the brunt of the force so that your teeth do not have to. A mouth guard can be purchased at a local drug store, but it is better to have one custom made to fit your mouth. Dr. Sands can devise a custom mouth guard for bruxism if you need it.

2. Reduce Stress

Bruxism is often triggered by stress or anxiety. Find ways to reduce stress in your life so that your muscles are less likely to take it out on your teeth. Many people find that practices such as meditation, yoga, or even taking a hot bath can alleviate stress and provide relaxation.

3. Don’t Overwork Your Jaw

Overworking the jaw can increase tension in it, leading to jaw clenching or teeth grinding. Avoid foods that are difficult to chew, such as tough meat or chewy candy, as well as chewing gum.

4. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol can increase the urge to clench your teeth, while caffeine can increase tension and jittery movements such as tooth grinding. Both alcohol and caffeine can increase symptoms of bruxism and should be avoided, especially in the afternoon and evening hours.

5. Get Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Though the two are not guaranteed to coincide, many people with bruxism also have sleep apnea. Getting treatment for sleep apnea (such as with a CPAP machine or mouth guard) can also be effective for preventing teeth grinding.

6. Relax and Massage Your Jaw

Jaw exercises and muscle relaxants can help relax the jaw. Gently massage the jaw, neck, and face to relieve tension, and consider asking a chiropractor or physical therapist for help with some jaw exercises. It can even help to apply a hot, wet washcloth to the sides of your jaw for several minutes at night before bed to relax the muscles.

Dental Treatments for Damaged Teeth

If any tooth damage has occurred due to bruxism, Dr. Sands can use dental bonding or porcelain veneers to restore your teeth. Dental bonding uses a cosmetic resin that is bonded to the tooth, sculpted and molded, then hardened until it matches your enamel. Porcelain veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that are cemented to your teeth to improve their form, appearance, and function. Both treatments can improve the appearance and function of teeth that have been worn down by teeth grinding.

 
Dr. Kevin Sands can offer additional recommendations for bruxism treatment and prevention of teeth grinding during your personal consultation. To schedule your appointment, please call 310.273.0111 or complete our online contact form today.

The DOs and DON’Ts for a Hollywood Smile

Kevin Sands, DDS - Cosmetic Dentist to Hollywood StarsMaintaining a healthy, beautiful smile is mostly about how you care for your teeth. If you want to protect your teeth and maintain a Hollywood-worthy smile, it’s important to do what your dentist tells you. Proper dental care is critical for your teeth’s health, for your body’s health, and even for your social status. Hollywood’s stars typically have the straightest, whitest, and most beautiful teeth you’ve ever seen, and there are two reasons for that. First, they take care of their teeth. Second, when they need extra help, they know to take advantage of cosmetic dentistry. Whether you’re on the red carpet in Hollywood or the red carpet of your personal life, here’s how to make your pearly whites shine so that you can look your absolute best.

Here’s a list of DOs and DON’Ts to keep your teeth healthy:

  • DO brush at least twice daily. Spend two full minutes twice a day brushing for optimal tooth cleanliness. Brushing is especially important after eating sugary foods because the sugar sits on your teeth and eats away at the enamel, eventually causing cavities.
  • DON’T brush too hard. Using abrasive toothbrushes or brushing too hard can scratch the enamel on your teeth, which can wear down over time. Brushing too hard can also damage your gums, and weak gums lead to weaker teeth and a weaker smile.
  • DO floss once a day. Twice a day is even better. Brushing your teeth is not enough because food particles can remain stuck between the teeth. You may choose to floss right after brushing or right before, but definitely be sure to do it.
  • DO go to the dentist regularly. Regular teeth cleanings and checkups are essential to maintaining proper dental health.
  • DON’T put objects like pens or pencils in your mouth. Not only is it a bad habit, but it’s also hard on your teeth and can damage them.
  • DON’T clench your jaw or grind your teeth. Forcing your teeth to scrape against each other like that is really bad for them. Doing this enough will eventually cause your teeth to chip and crack. A custom-made mouthguard can protect your teeth from grinding at night.
  • DON’T chew ice or bite your nails. Both can crack, chip, or otherwise damage your teeth.
  • DON’T drink coffee, tea, or soda. Avoiding these beverages may be difficult, but these drinks hurt your teeth! Not only can they discolor your teeth, but they also wear down the enamel. If you choose to drink one of these teeth-staining drinks, drink it through a straw to minimize your teeth’s exposure.
  • DON’T use your teeth as a tool. Opening packages with your teeth, holding items with your teeth, or ripping anything with your teeth can cause all kinds of damage and ruin your smile.

If you’re doing everything you can to protect your teeth and you still need extra correction, you may wish to consider cosmetic dentistry. Invisalign® can straighten your teeth the modern way and porcelain veneers can protect and cover damaged teeth. Call us today at (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your complimentary consultation with Cosmetic Dentist to the Stars, Dr. Kevin Sands.

Is It Bad to Grit Your Teeth?

Mean looking man in business office gritting teethThe muscles we use for chewing and speaking are some of the strongest muscles in our body. Four muscles in particular make it possible to speak, close our mouth, chew, and move our mandible (lower jaw) from side to side. When our mouth isn’t practicing any of these normal functions, the upper and lower teeth should rest comfortably together for the majority of the time.

Sometimes, anxiety, anger, or sheer determination might cause us to clench our jaw or grit our teeth. While this is fine on occasion, habitual teeth clenching can lead to problems with the teeth, jaw, or overall health in the future.

What happens when I grit my teeth?

Most people who clench their teeth also grind their teeth. The term “bruxism” refers to both actions. While consistently clenching the jaw can cause some stress to the teeth, grinding the teeth together can lead to worse problems like cracks, chips, and loose teeth.

It is very common for people to experience bruxism while they are asleep, having no idea that they are damaging their smile. Dr. Sands can easily tell if bruxism has been occurring when he examines your mouth at a routine dental visit. If any damage has occurred, he may recommend dental bonding or a much stronger alternative like porcelain veneers to keep up with the consistent damage. He can also customize a mouthguard to be worn at night to help protect your teeth.

What other damage can teeth clenching cause?

Since one of the muscles responsible for bruxism, the temporal fossa, extends all the way into the skull, its overuse can be a cause of recurrent headaches and earaches. “Lockjaw” is also a side effect of bruxism because of the muscle spasms and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) inflammation it can cause.

How do I cure bruxism?

Reducing stress and avoiding food that can be hard to chew, such as toffee, caramel, or steak, will help to relax the overworked jaw muscles. You should also avoid chewing gum and opening your mouth very wide on a consistent basis. Dr. Sands can provide further recommendations for treatment for bruxism during your consultation.

If you are experiencing bruxism or its side effects, Dr. Kevin B. Sands can assess your mouth and provide his recommendation for treatment. To schedule an appointment, please call us today at (310) 27-0111 or fill out our online contact form.

414 N. CAMDEN DRIVE, SUITE 940
BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90210
Tel: (310) 273-0111

[ Get Directions ]


SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

Contact Dr. Sands

Request an appointment for a complimentary consultation with cosmetic dentist Dr. Sands, or feel free to call our Los Angeles (north of Orange County) office at (310) 273-0111 for more information.