Teeth Grinding

Do you wake up without feeling like you got a full night of rest? Is this sometimes accompanied by a headache or a toothache? Are you experiencing jaw joint pain? Has Dr. Lepore noticed during your routine dental exams that your teeth have been becoming flatter or that you’re developing cracks in your teeth? Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can occur while you are awake or asleep. Unconsciously clenching your teeth is typically associated with bruxism. 

Your teeth should only make contact for around 3-4 minutes during the day when you chew your food. When there is constant force on your teeth grinding or clenching, tooth structure is worn away, exposing the inner sensitive layers of your teeth. Extreme bruxism can lead to cracks and fractures in your teeth.

You may have a temporomandibular jaw disorder (TMJ), which can contribute to jaw pain and bruxism.

TMJ Disorder Video:


  • Worn tooth structure
  • Flattened teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity 
  • Jaw soreness
  • Tender facial muscles
  • Headaches 
  • Audible grinding sounds that can be heard by others around you 

Teeth grinding has commonly been linked to airway disturbances such as sleep apnea or acid reflux. During your comprehensive examination, Dr. Lepore, Dr. Dougherty and your hygienist will evaluate you for airway disorders.

Bruxism Video


To brux or grind your teeth while sleeping may indicate that have a sleep-related breathing disorder such as snoring or sleep apnea. As your body tries to take in more oxygen during a sleep “event”, a grinding habit, known as a rhythmic masticatory muscle activity (RMMA) occurs, causing spastic jaw opening/closing muscle activity resulting in grinding events.



Left untreated, jaw disorders, headaches, and damage to teeth can develop. Dr. Lepore or Dr. Dougherty may recommend an oral appliance called a night guard (occlusal guard) to be worn while you sleep. An occlusal/night guard is a custom fabricated removable oral appliance that fits over your teeth and can be an upper or a lower guard. It is used to prevent the wearing down of teeth during sleep caused by grinding or clenching and can help extend the life of your teeth and restorations.


Should a sleep disorder be suspected, Dr. Lepore or Dr. Dougherty may recommend administering a home sleep test (HST) or polysomnography (In-Lab Sleep Test). Dr. Lepore or Dr. Dougherty will work in conjunction with your primary care physician and medical specialists such as board certified sleep physicians and otolaryngologists (Ear, Nose, and Throat – ENT) to determine what the appropriate treatment would be should a condition of sleep disordered breathing be diagnosed. While CPAP is the standard of care for sleep apnea, some patients choose oral appliance therapy as a comparable alternative.


You should give Dr. Lepore or Dr. Dougherty a call today if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above or have concerns about your jaw and teeth.

Our Dental Savings Plans

Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry believes that everyone should have access to high-quality dental care and that financial constraints or insurance status shouldn’t stand in the way for anyone to receive such care. That’s why we have introduced Dental Savings Plans as we don’t want you to compromise on your dental health. We have two plans – Standard and Wellness - offered at an annual membership fee of $429 and $729 respectively.

Membership will entitle you to a host of benefits including free and discounted treatments with a focus on your overall health.

Review by Marietta Correale

As a person with extreme anxiety (especially at the dentist) I have to say, this is one of the few places I have ever felt comfortable. Well, as comfortable as I can, that is. The staff has always gone out of their way to make sure I was doing okay and never made me feel like I was being ridiculous (even though I usually am). I am greatly appreciative of their patience, humor, and honesty.

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