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Grinding your Teeth (Bruxism) Can Cause More Damange than you Think

March 5, 2013

grindingDo you notice that you clench or grind your teeth regularly? This can be causing more damage to your teeth than you realize, and most don’t realize how much damage it is causing until their dentist or hygienist notice and point it out!

Bruxism, or clenching and grinding of the teeth, can cause damage to teeth and the bones that support them.

Why do people grind?

Some people grind to relieve stress and anxiety, but more often than not,  it is caused by a poor bite or a missing or crooked tooth. Nighttime grinding was even once considered nature’s way of getting teeth to “fit together.”

How can you tell if you’re a ‘grinder’?

Do you ever wake up with, a dull or thudding headache, a tender jaw or sore facial muscles?
Has a loved one ever mentioned that you grind your teeth at night? 

If it can be heard by someone else the grinding is significant.

Bruxism is serious. Nighttime clenching and grinding can cause broken or loose teeth. Teeth can lose their protective enamel layer worn completely off by grinding.  The nerve tissues inside of teeth can become inflamed sometimes causing the need for root canal therapy. Cracks in teeth may need to be treated with crowns or in some cases teeth have been lost to excessive grinding.  Changes in the TMJ (jaw joint) often occur with Bruxism and can lead to long term pain in the area.

Bruxism is not choice. You just can’t say “I quit.” Left untreated it can be the start of a lifetime of dental problems.  There are options. First, for nocturnal grinders a night guard is essential. Your dentist will help find the appliance that provides the most protection from the damage and wear caused by clenching and grinding. There are a wide variety of appliances, some are more focused on the jaw joint (TMJ) others are purely designed to protect the teeth from wear. The most important factor, in my opinion, is comfort and ease of use.  An appliance is useless if it is not worn.

If you think you experience any type of grinding, call the office today to make an appointment for Dr. Hayner to look them over make a diagnosis!

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