Clinching: The Hidden Tooth Destroyer

Most people know if they grind their teeth at night because anyone else in the house can hear it. The loud grind can sound like someone is learning how to use a stick shift in your bedroom. Grinding can cause some serious problems with your teeth and your jaw as well as stop you from getting a good nights sleep. But grinding has a silent twin…clinching.

Clinching is simply biting your teeth together very tightly for an extended period of time. This force is often strong enough to cause the same problems as grinding your teeth. Over time, clinching and grinding can wear through your enamel, loosen teeth, and cause some serious pain in your temporomandibular joint or TMJ.

What causes clinching? Most of the time clinching is an unconscious habit that is worsened by stress. The more stress you feel, the more you clinch your teeth together. The hardest part about dealing with clinching is it mostly happens during sleep.

What can you do to take care of it? Reducing pent up stress is the best place to start. Exercise and stretching will do wonders for your overall health as well as your stress levels. Loosening up your muscles, relieves physical tension and also emotional tension, allowing you to feel better and reduce your stress. Wearing a dental splint or bite guard will also reduce the symptoms of clinching and grinding. These simple devises are custom fit to your teeth and fit comfortably to separate your upper and lower teeth, allowing your muscles to lengthen and stop the teeth from wearing away.

Do you think you clinch but are not sure? Ask your dentist. Most cases are easy to spot in the dental office and can be treated. Don’t let this condition go untreated as it can have lasting effects on your teeth and jaw.

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