Clenching/Grinding the Teeth

Dental Center for TMJ and Facial Pain

Wear of teeth is often assumed to be “normal” wear and tear with age. When the jaw is at rest, the teeth are supposed to be slightly apart. The only time the teeth should actually touch is during swallowing. When chewing foods, no matter how fast we chew, the teeth don’t actually touch each other because the muscles know precisely when to open just before the teeth touch. Clenching and/or grinding of the teeth is an abnormal habit of the jaw called a para-functional habit. This para-functional habit of clenching and grinding the teeth is due to a disharmony in the position of the upper and lower jaw when biting down. Clenching or grinding can cause the teeth to become worn or chipped. It can also lead to receding gums and loose teeth.