“But I Don’t Remember Grinding My Teeth!”

Your dentist tells you that it seems you’ve been grinding your teeth, but you don’t recall any specific instances of actually doing so. The problem with bruxism—the clinical name for destructive teeth-grinding—is that it’s most likely to occur in your sleep, so you’re bound to have no recollection of it. So how can your dentist tell? Usually by detecting the typical signs, like excessively worn teeth, during your routine dental checkup; making regular dental visits all the more important.

It’s More than a Habit

Habits are more like nervous tics than conditions, and with a little effort, most of them can be stopped. Bruxism, however, is more than habitually grinding your teeth when you’re nervous—it’s the unconscious, involuntary clenching of your jaw muscles that forces your teeth to rub aggressively against each other. The reasons behind bruxism differ from patient to patient, and might include;
·         Overwhelming stress
·         Jaw dysfunctions (TMJ disorders)
·         Asymmetrical bite (like crooked teeth, or an uneven jawbone)
·         Injury to the face, mouth, or jaw

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Since the cause of your condition will differ from the causes of others, your treatment will have to be tailored to the specific condition driving your bruxism. For instance, crooked teeth can be straightened with discreet orthodontic treatment. For most patients, however, you can protect your teeth with a custom-designed mouthguard, or sleepguard, that you can wear at night to stop your teeth from grinding together. Even if the guard doesn’t cure your bruxism, it can prevent extensive tooth damage and help your jaw muscles relax until you receive successful treatment.


Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, restorative, and family dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you and your family are new or returning patients, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.