I unconsciously clench my jaw during the day and grind my teeth at night. Unfortunately, it’s been a habit for five or six years. When I had my dental cleaning last year, my dentist said my teeth looked fine. I was sick for a few months and had to reschedule my dental cleaning appointment, but I finally had the cleaning and exam two weeks ago. I told my dentist I’ve had brief pain in my lower teeth on both sides of my mouth. I’ve never had a cavity. My dentist said she doesn’t see cavities on the X-ray, so maybe the pain is from grinding my teeth. She said my teeth look fine, but I might need a bruxism nightguard if the discomfort continues. Is it that simple? – T. Young
Hello, T. Young,
We are glad you thought to ask about your teeth grinding and how to treat it.
We are concerned that your dentist’s exam may not have been thorough. Your teeth may look fine, but everything is not okay if you feel pain in your lower molar teeth. Your dentist focused on cavities, but perhaps she ignored TMJ symptoms, gum disease, or a problem with your bite. We recommend getting a second opinion at another dental practice.
Tooth decay doesn’t usually cause the pain you’ve described. It sounds like it may result from tooth grinding or gum disease. Pursue your concerns with another dentist because the cause of your discomfort can increase and lead to more serious dental problems. Dental pain from gum disease can spread, causing loose teeth and bone loss.
Teeth clenching and grinding wear teeth away, affecting your smile and chewing function. Your dentist mentioned that you may need a night guard. A TMJ mouthguard can absorb the grinding pressure to protect your jaw and facial muscles.
Please get a second opinion from a dentist with occlusion and bite training to determine the cause of your discomfort and recommend treatment.