Special Topics

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AGD:FACTSHEETCompiled for you by the Academy of General Dentistry


? Bruxism is the technical term for teeth

grinding and clenching that causes

facial pain. People unintentionally

bite down too hard at inappropriate

times, such as in their sleep. In addition

these bruxers may also may bite their

fingernails, pencils and chew the inside

of their cheek. People usually aren’t

diagnosed with bruxism until it is too

late because so many people don’t

realize they have the habit. Others

mistakenly believe that their teeth must

touch at all times.

Who suffers from bruxism?

Bruxism is triggered by people with

certain types of personalities. They

may have a nervous tension and a hard

time handling stress. Anger, pain and

frustration can cause people to start

showing the beginning signs of bruxism

with out them even knowing it. People

who are aggressive, competitive and

hurried also may be at a greater risk for


What can be done?

Your general dentist automatically

checks for physical signs of bruxism and

if it seems to be present the condition

may be observed over several visits

before recommending and starting

therapy. The objective of therapy is

to get the bruxer to change behavior

by learning how to rest the tongue,

teeth and lips properly. While simply

becoming aware of the problem and

changing their behavior may be enough

for some people, others will have to

wear a plastic mouth appliance, such

as a night guard that’s worn to absorb

the force of biting. This appliance can

prevent future damage to the teeth and

helps change the patient’s destructive

behavior. Biofeedback is used on

daytime grinders by using electronic

instruments to measure muscle activity

and to teach patients how to reduce

muscle activity when the biting force

becomes too great. Researchers are still

experimenting with new ways to help

those who tend to clench in their sleep.



One in three people suffer from bruxism,

which can easily be treated by a dentist.

?What are the signs

of bruxism?

P Tips of the teeth look fl at

P Extreme sensitivity due to the

inside of the tooth (dentin)

being exposed from grinding

P Jaw pain due to popping

and clicking of the

temporomandibular joint


P Tongue indentations

From the office of:

Yaelle Gabay, DDS

2701 W Alameda Ave Ste 600

Burbank, CA 91505-4411

(818) 848-3322

Dr. Melvin A. Kum is dedicated to excellence in general and cosmetic dentistry. Located in Burbank California, dentist Melvin A. Kum specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry such as teeth whitening, braces, clear braces, porcelain veneers.

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