Unraveling the Enigma of Bruxism: Understanding Teeth Clenching and Grinding

A dental professional examining teeth for signs of bruxism.

As the owner of Metro Decatur Dental Group PC, a prominent dental service in Decatur, GA, I’m well-informed about the dental challenges faced by our community. One prevalent issue that we frequently encounter is bruxism, often referred to as teeth clenching and grinding. While the symptoms of bruxism are relatively easy to identify, the underlying causes remain a subject of curiosity and intrigue.

Understanding Bruxism

Teeth grinding involves the back-and-forth movement of teeth against each other, typically occurring unconsciously during sleep. Interestingly, this behavior is more common in children, who usually outgrow it after losing their baby teeth. On the other hand, most adults who grind their teeth are unaware of the habit until someone else, like a partner or dentist, brings it to their attention due to grinding sounds during sleep or signs of wear on the teeth.

Teeth clenching, on the other hand, involves tightly pressing the top and bottom teeth together. Unlike grinding, clenching can occur both during wakefulness and sleep and involves significantly higher force exertion on the teeth, reaching hundreds of pounds. Reducing stress, through techniques like stress reduction methods, massage, or physical therapy, can often alleviate daytime clenching.

Dealing with Bruxism

When it comes to nighttime bruxism, the unconscious nature of the behavior makes it challenging to address with behavioral changes. However, our dedicated team at Metro Decatur Dental Group PC offers effective solutions for our patients in Decatur. We often utilize custom-made dental appliances, such as splints or mouthguards, to protect the teeth from the detrimental effects of clenching and grinding during sleep.


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