Do You Grind Your Teeth or Clench Your Jaw?


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Grinding your teeth and clenching your teeth and jaw aren’t limited to one age group — this habit affects both adults and children.

With 2020 being a particularly difficult time for us all, unsurprisingly, dentists and orthodontists have seen an increase in patients making appointments related to clenching and grinding. What causes this condition? Can a professional help ease it?

Stress and anxiety are definitely triggers for both. While there are other causes, such as sleep disorders, stress and anxiety are prominent reasons as of late.

Clenching and grinding can occur in the daytime, nighttime, or both. For those who are daytime clenchers/grinders, one of the ways the habit can be managed is by focusing on keeping the teeth apart. By contrast, nighttime clenching and grinding are involuntary.

In either case, this habit can be damaging to the teeth and jaws, and often, patients complain about headaches (triggered by the pressure exerted while clenching/grinding) and sore jaws and cheeks. The most common effects on the teeth are increased tooth wear and breakage of teeth or restorations (such as fillings and crowns). Sometimes the gums can also be affected.

If you are experiencing pain because of clenching and grinding talk to your Dentist or Orthodontist about a nightguard. It’s crucial that you do not use a store-bought night guard — these usually lead to bite changes, and can worsen the habit. A device properly fitted by a professional and custom made for you is key. Just as important, take time to relieve stress every day.


Dr. Rana Barakat, a board-certified specialist in Orthodontics, has been proudly serving Northern Virginia for more than 20-years! She has built her practice on a personal touch and excellent treatment.

As a parent, she understands wanting the best for your children in giving them beautiful, confident smiles. She makes it a priority to ensure optimal results, but also believes that each patient’s experience during treatment is just as important as the clinical result. As the 2015-16 President of the Virginia Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Barakat’s dedication and expertise reflect why her peers continue to nominate her as a Top Dentist.

Barakat Orthodontics is located at 45745 Nokes Blvd., Ste. 175, Sterling, VA 20166. Connect with them by visiting them online, or get social with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Barakat Orthodontics can also be reached at (703) 433-9330.


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