Bruxism a 'grinding' problem

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Dentist Josh Drake can speak out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to bruxism.

"To grind your teeth is called "bruxism". It's a fancy word and typically occurs at night when you are sleeping," said Drake.

He said it becomes more frequent due to stress.

"Ok, right here we're looking at a patient with excessive wear. Here on their maxillary teeth you can see the chipping. You can see the crooked nature there, the wear from the opposing teeth, the canines here are worn down."

Drake said he can also speak as a patient who suffers from the condition.

"Some people, myself included, can grind during the day.  We're just kind of programmed that way."

"Well currently, I do grind my teeth, but not to the extent that I need any type of apparatus.  You know Josh keeps a regular check on things to make sure it's not affecting my bite," said Drake's mom, Joanne Buffaloe.

She said she's glad Drake is a dentist to help himself with his condition, but she worries when he was a little boy.

"We would be lying in bed at night, literally.  And we would hear him from the next room, and it is concerning as a parent."

For many patients, the grinding is at night. Sometimes it's an attempt to make ill-fitted teeth fit together.

"It could be very damaging. It could grind all the way into the nerve of the tooth," said Drake.

There is only one treatment for bruxism.

"The most conservative treatment is just a night guard. Basically it's a clear, hard, splint. That's just a fancy word and basically the patient will wear it at night when they sleep."

He said the theory is you will not stop the grinding, but you will protect your teeth.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.