Bruxism & Teeth Grinding Interview

- Dr. Behrooz Khademazad

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Dr Khademazad has been serving the Grand Prairie community for over 30 years. In this interview, he covers everything you need to know about teeth grinding including causes, symptoms, teeth grinding in kids and teens.

You’ll learn more about teeth grinding triggers, the harm it causes, as well as dental disorders teeth grinding can lead to and much more.

Interview Transcript

Tye: I first want to thank everyone for tuning in today. My name is Tye Binuyo with the We are the site that introduces you to the top rated dentists and dental professionals from around the country as well as the services they offer. Today I have a special guest joining me Dr. Khademazad.

He's the owner of Grand Prairie Family Dental located in Grand Prairie and has been serving the community for the last 30 years. Dr. Khademazad is here today to discuss bruxism also known as teeth grinding. Thank you for joining us today.

Dr. Khademazad: Thank you for having me.

Tye: No problem. Can you tell us a little about your practice as well as your journey in dentistry? 

Dr. Khademazad: With respect to my practice, I've always felt that as a general practitioner I need to make my understanding of dentistry as comprehensive as possible so my interest ranged from orthodontics, jaw and teeth development, bite analysis, implants, TMJ, reconstruction, and cosmetics. My interest is quite wide in spectrum and thankfully I'm able to provide that range of service to our patients who come to Grand Prairie Family Dental.

Tye: Awesome, so let's jump right into it. bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, could you tell us exactly what that is? 

Dr. Khademazad: Generally, the majority of people grind their teeth in response to some type of reaction that they experience. For example, you could be driving on the highway and somebody cuts you off and you get frustrated, you could be grinding them. You could have sleep apnea where you're having difficulty breathing and tend to clench and grind more frequently. 

Dr. Khademazad: You could have teeth shifting and your bite not being like it should be, that could cause you to grind and clench. You could have temporomandibular joint issues, that could cause you to grind and clench. So there's a wide range of reasons, but bruxism is when you do it at night when you sleep. That's the difference. You could grind and clench during the day and you could also grind and clench at night when you sleep, which we define as bruxism.

Tye: Thank you for that clarification. 

Tye: Are there any other additional symptoms of teeth grinding? I know you mentioned at night and in sleep, is that something that I'm typically aware of when I wake up in the morning?

Dr. Khademazad: In terms of symptoms when you grind and clench you may not be aware of it because it's such a habit that you are doing it unconsciously. But there are symptoms that are generated based on the severity and frequency of your clenching and grinding and I just want to point out that when you clench and grind you do not do it all night every night. It is a cyclical process. 

Dr. Khademazad: So you do it maybe a little bit at a time, maybe 5 to 10 minutes a night and you may do it repeatedly several times during the night. You may also do it for a few days then you stop for a couple of weeks and then you start it again. 

Dr. Khademazad: It's a very cyclical process. it's not something that you do continuously. You asked for additional reasons for clenching and grinding. It could be behavioral. People may be very high strung and they can react to things there may be more nervous, high anxiety and that can cause you to clench and grind. 

Dr. Khademazad: It can also depend on diet. So if you're drinking a lot of high sugar drinks like these power drinks, if you, for example, eat a lot of white flour, dairy products these things can also make you clench and grind more easily. 

Tye: I would never have thought that the diet plays a part in that. 

Dr. Khademazad: You know like high caffeine diets. For example, someone that drinks a lot of coffee daily. They clench and grind. 

Tye: Who else is at risk?

Dr. Khademazad: People who have an existing temporomandibular joint problem, they would be at risk. There could be some ailments like neuro diseases that could cause grinding and clenching more readily and actually can also affect the severity of your clenching and grinding. 

Dr. Khademazad: One interesting fact is when you clench and grind, you basically put more force on your teeth than when you bite, the estimation is about 10 times more force. I found that pretty interesting. 

Tye: Yes, it sounds like a lot of wear on the teeth and moving on to that. You mentioned the bite, how exactly does your bite play into teeth grinding? 

Dr. Khademazad: This really is an area that dentistry has not been able to clearly decipher the root cause of clenching and grinding. The reason is that it is multifaceted. It is muscular. It is neuro. It could be systemic and it could be psychological. 

Dr. Khademazad: There's a wide array of contributors to clenching and grinding so that's why it's so difficult to decipher, so the best thing is to have the patient come in and be examined. But going back to your question about the bite, when your biting plane is violated for teeth that tilt, move, shift or drop down because there is nothing opposing them, we call that supra eruption. Or if teeth are missing in certain areas. These are all the things that we define as an occlusal disease, which is biting disease and which are contributors to grinding and clenching.

Tye: Is bruxism or teeth grinding common among kids and teens?

Dr. Khademazad: Yes, it could be but the contributors may be a bit different. So in teens, generally it could be behavioral or habit. It could be as their teeth are changing from baby teeth to adult teeth, the bite is in constant change so that can contribute to grinding or it could be breathing issues in teenagers such as asthma, allergies, sinus infections and so forth. 

Dr. Khademazad: It could also be airway obstruction, so if they have a deviated septum and if they have a very narrow oropharynx. These are all contributors to their grinding and clenching which all fall under breathing difficulty. With our children, it is primarily a breathing issue. It could also be diet, if they have a high sugar diet, eating a lot of cereal or high-C drinks and so forth. That could cause them to clench and grind. If they have allergies or obstruction of the airway. They will clench and grind. 

Tye: Is anything that you would recommend in terms of deterring that from happening?

Dr. Khademazad: Well, I think the parents can put a humidifier in the room to help the airway to be more relaxed and therefore they have a better chance of breathing better and hopefully less grinding and clenching. That's one easy fix. 

Dr. Khademazad: The other is looking into what's causing their obstruction. Is it allergies, sinus issues or adenoids. They need to see what is the cause of the obstruction and then try to help the child to alleviate that problem. 

Tye: Good information. Generally overall for adults, teens, and children why is teeth grinding harmful? 

Dr. Khademazad: Teeth grinding is not just harmful to the teeth but to the dentistry that is being done in your mouth. It's the root cause of break down in your mouth besides gum disease and so on. 

Dr. Khademazad: In any kind of dental health endeavor, the first thing you want to really assess and correct is the bite. It's something that a lot of people ignore because they feel like they just want to get out of pain, it is a chronic and relatively silent problem. You're clenching and grinding until you start having issues and then it becomes problematic. 

Dr. Khademazad: It's best is to be attentive to your bite if you need braces or orthodontics to correct your bite or by bite balancing. If a dentist recommends you to do bite balancing please look at it as important as having a root canal, filling or a crown and try to replace the missing teeth as quickly as possible. This way the teeth don't shift or violate the biting plain. Those are really the key preventive measures that you can take. 

Tye: Can teeth grinding lead to other harmful dental disorders? 

Dr. Khademazad: Oh yeah, because it's the foundation of your dental health, If you ignore it, you could fracture teeth pretty easily. You could damage your joints. You could hyper develop your muscles which basically makes your cheeks thicker. 

Dr. Khademazad: You could break down the supporting structures of the tooth such as the bone and gums which leads to recession of your teeth. You can have what we call abfractions of the teeth which is the indentation of the tooth by the gum line. That can literally lead to snapping your crown part of the tooth when you chew.

Dr. Khademazad: It could cause a lot of sensitivity of your teeth and it could cause your teeth to shift very easily if you clench and grind chronically. It can also wear your teeth down quite a bit, which really compromises the vertical height of your bite and that can put more stress on your joints and cause it to break down faster. 

Tye: What are some of the ways that you treat teeth grinding?

Dr. Khademazad: If the patient really appreciates the significance of the bite then they would do a number of different things but generally, the first thing that is offered is a night guard. A night guard is a plastic custom-fit tray that fits over your teeth and somewhat snaps over your teeth, and you basically wear it when you clench and grind. The idea is that you distribute the force of your clenching and grinding so that all your dentition is sharing it, rather than the force focusing on a few teeth and doing more damage. 

Dr. Khademazad: It also prevents your teeth from wearing down, you wear the plastic and not your teeth. Unfortunately, in some cases, it can accentuate your clenching so it just depends on what the situation is but that's generally what's given to the patient as the first line of defense.

Tye: Is treatment covered by most of the insurance plans that you work with?

Dr. Khademazad: Most insurances cover night guards and some insurances cover a bite equilibration which is balancing of your bite but they don't pay anything more than that. Sometimes the patient has to pay out of pocket if you want to get more involved. 

Tye: In terms of out-of-pocket payments do you offer any other third party payment plans or anything that helps with that as well?

Dr. Khademazad: Yes, we partner with a number of different financing companies to give the patient as wide of a range of choices for their financing. We offer financing through third-parties that depend on FICO and credit scores and we also offer financing to patients who may not have a very good credit score and they still need the treatment and are able to afford the payments and then we are able to offer them a non-credit score based financing if you will.

Tye: Awesome. How can one schedule a consultation with your practice and with you? 

Dr. Khademazad: I love to visit with anyone who may benefit from our services. They can call my office which is 972-988-0900. They can also contact us through email which is [email protected] and then we can follow up and schedule an appointment for you. 

Tye: Sounds good. This has been very informative and I definitely thank you for your time.

Dr. Khademazad: Sure. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

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