Has your nightly habit of grinding your teeth left you feeling tired, sore and flat by morning? Sore facial and neck muscles, aching jaw joints and a headache that makes you wonder what exactly happened during the hours of supposed slumber are common complaints from patients who suffer from bruxism (grinding). But another common patient concern is that the constant grinding and clenching of teeth is not only leaving them feeling flat – but causing their smile to be half of what it used to be.
Worn Teeth Due To Grinding
Patients who grind their teeth frequently presented with worn and flattened teeth – a sign of grinding that causes not only cosmetic concerns but tooth issues that include gum and bone recession,heightened sensitivity, lack of function due to worn anatomy and the rapid destruction of dentistry. Worn teeth that have become short and flat can become very sensitive to temperature and occasional pressure. The increased sensitivity is a result of the outer protective layer of the tooth (enamel) being worn away until the softer, less thermal protective layer of dentin is exposed. Over time the habit of clenching and grinding can destroy an otherwise healthy smile – leaving a person lacking a functional bite and beautiful smile.
Can Clenching and Grinding Be Stopped?
To stop the oral destruction caused by grinding: treatment intervention is required. Grinding tends not to disappear as the habit tends to be cyclical – prompted by both an emotional and physical aspect. Once locked in to the cycle of clenching and grinding, wear of teeth and jaw joints, and discomfort of muscles becomes a patient’s new norm – causing them to deal with ongoing tooth and gum issues and associated pain. Gum and bone recession is the body’s natural response to the extreme force exerted during a phase of grinding. To keep teeth for a lifetime an individual needs a healthy level of bone to support the roots of teeth – so without addressing the habit of grinding a person is also at risk of premature tooth loss. Intervening with treatment not only stops the habit but protects teeth from further damage.
Treatment for Teeth Grinding
Our dentists explain that treating dental grinding may consist of several different approaches. For some patients the use of a splint or nightguard is sufficient to combat the damage caused by grinding. For other patients more in-depth treatment is required to address the bite concerns that have resulted from grinding or that were a factor for triggering grinding initially.