I clench and grind, and also snore. Are these connected?

I clench and grind, and also snore. Are these connected?

Dr. David WilhiteQuestion: My dentist has told me that I clench and grind, and I also snore. Is there a connection between the two?

David Wilhite says:

The problem frequently begins in childhood with allergies and enlarged tonsils. This sets off a whole cascade of events.

The allergies and enlarged tonsils result in a constriction of the airway. The constriction causes the child to breathe through the mouth as opposed to the nose. Now, the tongue assumes a lower position in the mouth to assist the mouth breathing. Without the tongue in the roof of the mouth, the upper jaw does not develop properly and stays too narrow and too highly vaulted. Thus, it takes up space for the nasal airway, further compounding the difficulty of nasal breathing. Under normal conditions, breathing through the nose filters and humidifies the air, removing allergens so that they don’t pass into the lungs.

The increased exposure to allergens inflames the tissues of the throat, enlarges the tonsils, and increases the level of inflammation in the body. Thus, the airway is narrowed and causes snoring– which can lead to sleep apnea even in children as young as 2-3 years old. Therefore any child who snores or grinds their teeth needs to be evaluated for sleep apnea.

Many patients with apnea also clench and grind to open their airway so that they can breathe. Unfortunately, clenching does not completely solve the problem of a constricted airway.

A high percentage of the patients with sleep apnea have acid reflux and vice versa. After an apneic event, the first breath is usually a gasp that brings stomach acid up into the throat or mouth.

Sleep apnea also leads to an accumulation of stress hormones, mainly cortisol, and this leads to more clenching and grinding.

COVID-19 Dental FAQ

COVID-19 Dental FAQ

COVID-19 Dental FAQ

Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are designed to make you feel both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and staff safe.

Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the directives of these agencies so that we are up to date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued.

You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:

  • Our office will conduct a health screening and temperature check upon your arrival.
  • We have hand sanitizer available throughout the office.
  • You may see that our waiting room no longer offers magazines, books, children’s toys, etc. to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Our clinical staff will wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to better protect themselves and their patients.
  • Appointments will begin with an oral rinse to reduce bacteria in the mouth prior to treatment.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at (972) 964-3774 or contact us today.

Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.

Can I put off my dental appointment until after the COVID-19 pandemic is over?

Regular dental appointments are an important part of taking care of your overall health. While it can be tempting to put off your regular checkup until things feel more “normal” again, I advise against it. Routine appointments give me an opportunity to check for a number of health conditions and catch them early. Some conditions, like tooth decay, can be more difficult, painful and expensive to treat if they’re left undetected.

Your health and safety is, and has always been, my top priority. My staff and I are taking every precaution to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission at your visit.

What about teledentistry? Can / substitute a virtual visit for my regular appointment?

A phone or video appointment isn’t the same as your regular appointment. Teledentistry can be helpful in some situations, such as deciding if an oral health issue you’re experiencing is an emergency that requires immediate treatment or if it’s something that can wait a bit. If you think you may be experiencing a dental emergency, call my office and we’ll help you decide if you need to come in.

What are you doing differently because of COVID-19?

There are a number of science-backed steps my staff and I are taking to help limit the spread of COVID-19. These include:

  • Increased personal protective equipment including masks, face shields, goggles and surgical gowns or long-sleeved lab coats.
  • Increased cleaning protocols. This includes using disinfectants known to kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, removing high-touch items like magazines and toys from waiting rooms and frequently cleaning items like pens and clipboards.
I’ve heard it’s safer to schedule your appointment for first thing in the morning – the office will be cleaner because there haven’t been patients coming through before me. Is that true?

You should schedule your dental appointment for the time of day that works for you. The same enhanced cleaning protocols occur all day long, including leaving the room empty after a patient leaves to allow the appropriate time necessary as part of thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the space between patients.

How is your dental team monitoring themselves for COVID-19?

Staff at our practice are subject to daily health screenings. This includes taking their temperatures to make sure they don’t have a fever and asking them a series of health-related questions each day to make sure they’re not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.

You said you cannot see me as a patient because of my COVID-19 risk. Can you do that?

Yes. The safety of our patients and the dental team is our highest priority. As Dentists, we use our professional judgment and guidance from the CDC and the American Dental Association (ADA) to determine risk levels for seeing patients. If it was determined that you were high risk, or had a high temperature on the day of your appointment, we can have a conversation about which factors determined delay of service, so that you can self-monitor and reschedule.

Dentist Plano TX: Wilhite DDS

Dentist Plano TX: Wilhite DDS

Your dentist Plano TX, David Wilhite DDS, is a dental office located off of Parker Road in Plano, TX. Our dental services include:

General Dentistry

  • Periodontal Gum Disease Treatment
  • Dental Fillings
  • Tooth Extraction
  • Root Canals
  • TMJ Disorder
  • Oral Cancer Screening
  • Sedation Dentistry
  • Dentures

Cosmetic Dentistry

  • Dental Implants
  • Full Mouth Restoration
  • Porcelain Crowns
  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Orthodontics
  • Invisalign Braces
  • Teeth Whitening

Pediatric Dentistry

  • Children’s Dental Care
  • Thumb Sucking & Pacifier Use
  • Addressing Dental Fear
  • Baby Dental Care
  • Fun Stuff for Kids

Sleep Disorders

  • Sleep Apnea

Our motto is “Together we will create your new smile,” meaning you are the most important person in our practice, and the most essential player on our dental team.

David Wilhite is a Doctor of Dental Surgery with more than 30 years of dental experience. We truly take our patients care and experience very seriously.

We’ve done some Q&A with Dr Wilhite in the past. Here are some highlights from your dentist Plano TX:

How does teeth whitening work?

Prior to any whitening procedure, a thorough cleaning is recommended…On the day of your whitening appointment, your teeth will be isolated to protect your lips and gums before the whitening gel is applied to your teeth.

My dentist told me that due to my heavy clenching I could only have gold crowns on my molars. Are there any alternatives?

We frequently give patients porcelain crowns as well, although BruxZir crowns may be the best solution in your case.

What can be done about my headaches and TMJ problems?

The common denominator of TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) headaches and migraines is what is known as bruxism (clenching and grinding)…There are a variety of possible treatments.

You can read more Q&A on our blog, see our before and after Smile Gallery, and read testimonials.


TMJ Headaches and Migraines

TMJ Headaches and MigrainesQuestion: What can be done about my headaches and TMJ problems?

David Wilhite says:

The common denominator of TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) headaches and migraines is what is known as bruxism (clenching and grinding).

Now the big question: what causes people to clench and grind?

This has been a subject of controversy in dentistry for many years. Some dentists seem to only consider only one of the many possible causes.

The possible causes include, but may not be limited to, stress, a bad bite, habit. a sleep disorder, certain medications, recent incorrect dental restorations, and deterioration of the joint.

Since there are many possible causes, no one treatment is going to be an effective treatment for everybody. Additionally, it is certainly possible for a patient to have more than one cause.

There are a variety of possible treatments. Most so-called TMJ problems are related to pain in the jaw muscles as opposed to the joint itself. We start out with a complete, comprehensive examination to determine the most likely cause of the problem. Some patients are able to find relief by doing TMJ exercises.

Related: TMJ Pain Relief

Some of the possible treatments are a bite splint, Botox in the jaw muscles, as bite adjustment, muscle relaxers, and a snore appliance.

There are pluses and minuses to all of these treatments. An example would be the case of a patient receiving a bite splint and the grinding getting worse or the patient being unable to wear the splint. This would be a good indication that the patient actually has sleep apnea and needs a snore guard. In this case, the bite splint took up too much tongue space and shifted the tongue backward which made the apnea or snoring worse.

Related: What can be done about sleep apnea and snoring?

Sometimes various treatments have to be tried until the right one or more is found to be effective.

Ready to learn more about TMJ Treatments?


Schedule a consultation online or call us at (972) 964-3774


Additional TMJ Information:

TMJ Disorders – Mayo Clinic

TMJ Home Remedies

TMJ Exercises for Pain Relief

TMJ Disorders – National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

Bruxzir Crowns – Solution for People Who Grind Their Teeth?

Dr. David WilhiteQUESTION: My dentist told me that due to my heavy clenching I could only have gold crowns on my molars. Are there any alternatives?


David Wilhite says:

BruxZir crowns are a brand of crowns made from zirconium. These are excellent crowns for people who clench and grind their teeth.

Prior to these crowns, the best material that we had for a patient who clenches and grinds their teeth was gold. Many patients did not like any metal showing in their mouths and wanted a strong and esthetic alternative.

For dental crowns in Plano, TX call (972) 964-3774

Five years ago, the only alternative was porcelain fused to metal crown (PFM). The problem with these crowns is that the porcelain could chip off the underlying metal and the metal would be exposed.

We frequently give patients porcelain crowns as well, although BruxZir crowns may be the best solution in your case.

When zirconium crowns first came out, they were very strong but very light colored and did not meet patient expectations. As improvements were made, as more different shades became available, the aesthetics greatly improved to the point where they match the natural teeth very well.


Ready to learn more about BruxZir crowns?

Schedule a consultation online or call us at (972) 964-3774


Do you need dental crowns in Plano, Texas area?

Plano Dentist David WilhiteContact us today to set up your examination. Dr. Wilhite has over 30 years of experience helping patients to keep their smiles healthy. He will be able to identify possible issues and recommend further treatments if needed.

We can also talk about affordable financing and dental insurance options to make sure you get the care you need.

Call us at (972) 964-3774

David Wilhite is a Plano Texas Dentist who has helped thousands of patients with a wide variety of dental health issues from general to cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign clear bracesTMJ treatmentdental implants and full mouth restorations.

Additional BruxZir information: 

What is BruxZir Solid Zirconium

BruxZir® Scientific Studies

BruxZir® Technical Information

BruxZir case studies

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Dr. David Wilhite

QUESTION: I would like to whiten my teeth.

How does it work?

Dr. David Wilhite says:

For 25 to 30 years patients have been whitening their teeth in dental offices.

We have been using the ZOOM products for many years now and have gone through many generations of their equipment and materials.

Prior to any whitening procedure, a thorough cleaning is recommended.

This removes the plaque and tartar from the teeth so that the whitening solution is in more intimate contact with the teeth, thus enhancing the results. The cleaning should be done no more than a week before your whitening appointment with the same day being the best.

On the day of your whitening appointment, your teeth will be isolated to protect your lips and gums before the whitening gel is applied to your teeth.

After the gel is applied, a ZOOM whitening light is placed in close proximity to the teeth. The gel is changed periodically for 2-4 sessions.

Some people call this laser whitening but that is an incorrect term. In the early days of whitening, a laser was used with a few products, but it rapidly fell out of favor due to its harshness and subsequent sensitivity. Today only visible light is used.

Related: Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Some people with extremely sensitive teeth cannot tolerate this procedure and need a modified version of the light assisted whitening called EZ White. A similar gel is used, but the light intensity is lower. In an extremely low number of cases, only the whitening gel in custom made trays will work with the patient’s sensitivity.

Prior to whitening, it needs to be understood that only tooth structure is whitened, no dental restorations are whitened.

Most patients are quite willing to change out old restorations to match their newly whitened teeth. The patient needs to wait 7-10 days after whitening before any restorations are done. This allows time for the whitening chemicals to dissolve out of the teeth and for the newly whitened shade to stabilize.

Did you know that whiter teeth make you look younger? >How Teeth Whitening Can Change Your Life

Ready to learn more about teeth whitening?


Schedule a consultation online or call us at (972) 964-3774