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Dentistry/Oral Fixation vs. Teeth Grinding


I was at the dentist this week and was told after examination by the hygienist that it appears I grind my teeth at night.   However, I am a mouth breather and upon reflection, I realized I have an oral fixation with chewing on pens at work during the day.  Could chewing on pens produce the same sort of results that would mimic grinding my teeth?

I tried a mouth guard but it will not stay in and makes it very hard to fall asleep.

Dear Chris:
Sorry for the delay.  I'm on vacation and forgot to sign out.
Nevertheless, It is hard to comment on a situation without having all the information available.  I am assuming that your dentist and hygienist noticed wear facets on your teeth or abfraction lesions on your teeth at the gum line.  Chewing  on a pen generally does not produce those results. It can produce local wear on the teeth that you use to chew on that pen.  Wear and tear of teeth is produced over a long period of time,  and is generally caused at night when you have have time to generate those adverse forces. Even between taking breaths, you can generate clenching and grinding forces.   The only way to check is to conduct a sleep study when someone can observe you while you sleep.
You need to go back to your dentist and ask what signs and symptoms they saw that leads them to believe that you grind your teeth at night.   A properly made, full arch, upper night guard, is appropriate treatment.  It  will stop you from further damaging your teeth.
As  always, a second expert opinion is recommended from a prosthodontist who is the expert in this area.
Best of luck,


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Zev Kaufman, D.D.S.


I can answer any question from simple routine dentistry to very complex dentistry with emphasis on reconstructive, cosmetic, and implant dentistry. My expertise is in co-ordination of very complex treatment plans with other dental specialists or as a one-man-team, since I have extensive training in Prosthodontics, Surgical Implantology, and orthodontics.


Over a decade in private practice of Surgical Implantology and Prosthodontics. Founder and owner of Prosthodontics & Implant Surgery of Manhattan, PC. Clinical Assistant Professor at the Post-Graduate Department of Periodontics & Implant Dentistry at New York University College of Dentistry. Lecture weekly since 1999 on advanced Implant Prosthodontics at New York University College of Dentistry Post-Graduate Program in Periodontics & Implant Dentistry. Former clinical assistant professor of Dental Radiology at the NYU College of Dentistry. Former clinical and lecture faculty at Lincoln Hospital, Dental residency program. Former clinical and lecture faculty at St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY) dental residency program. Lecture nationally on Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry.

Memeber of the American College of Prosthodontics. Memeber of the Acacdemy of Osseointegration. Member or the Omikron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) Honors Dental Society. Member of the American Dental Education Association.

Graduated with Honors from New York University College of Dentistry. Post-Graduate training and certificate in the specialty of Prosthodontics. Post-Graduate training and ceritificate in Surgical and Prosthetic Implant Dentistry. Honors-program in Comprehensive and Applied Practice Management. Honors-program in Orthodontics.

Awards and Honors
NYU Cervice award to the community. OKU honor society. National Dean's List. National Who's Who.

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