The team at Chrisman & Wyse has helped patients throughout the Bloomington area achieve healthier smiles thanks to advances in restorative dentistry designed to enhance dental health. This includes treating everything from tooth decay to teeth grinding (bruxism), the latter of which we'd like to discuss right now.
What is teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding refers to the gnashing, clenching, and shifting of the teeth when a person is asleep. When this occurs, it can lead to various dental problems that affect the teeth, the gums, the jaw joint, and your overall quality of rest. Even though it seems like it's a minor problem, over time, teeth grinding can become a serious health issue.
The Most Common Causes of Teeth Grinding
The most common causes of teeth grinding include the following:
- Poor bite alignment from crooked teeth
- Missing teeth
- Excessive stress or anxiety
- Use of certain drugs/medications
- Injury to the jaw joint that affect proper dental alignment
Chipped and Cracked Teeth
One of the most common dangers associated with teeth grinding is the chipping and cracking of the teeth. This is the result of major stress and pressure placed on the teeth as a result of frequent and constant grinding against one another. Over time, the chips and cracks may become more pronounced, leading to tooth sensitivity, weakened teeth, and even greater likelihood of breaking your teeth.
While the teeth are obviously affected by the grinding that goes on at night, the gums can also be affected by teeth grinding over time. The pressure placed on the teeth leads to recession of the gumline, which means that more of the root structure of a tooth becomes exposed. When this happens, serious tooth decay that's difficult to treat and potential root canal infection become major dangers.
The pressure placed on the jaw joint over time can cause a TMJ disorder to occur. A TMJ disorder refers to the clicking, locking, popping, and pain in the jaw joint due to issues with alignment. Left untreated, the TMJ disorder can become quite severe, potentially making speaking and eating more difficult.
Headaches and Facial Pain
The constant strain on the jaw joint, the muscles of the jaw area, and the muscles of the temples can lead to a less restful sleep and greater likelihood of headaches and facial pain when you wake up. This takes its toll over time, potentially resulting in fatigue and added grogginess.
Common Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding
Treatment options for teeth grinding vary based on the root cause of the problem.
In many cases, the basic treatment will involve the use of a bite guard, which covers the upper and lower dental arches and prevents direct contact with these two sets of teeth. This reduces the damage done to the teeth themselves as well as the amount of strain in the jaw joint.
If poor bite alignment is a cause or contributing factor to the teeth grinding, orthodontic treatment of some kind if often ideal. Improving the alignment of the upper and lower dental arches means reduced issues with teeth grinding during sleep.
When stress is the cause of the teeth grinding, the best option for care is relaxation techniques. Meditation, breathing exercises, general exercise, and other means of reducing stress can all help alleviate issues with teeth grinding.
Schedule a Consultation at Chrisman & Wyse
To learn more about treating and preventing teeth grinding, it's important that you contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team here at Chrisman & Wyse looks forward to your visit and helping you have the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible.