16 May What Does Bruxism Do to Your Teeth?
Teeth grinding and clenching is a common problem that affects people of all ages. Also known as bruxism, grinding and clenching can do serious damage to your teeth. Here’s why it’s so important to treat bruxism early, and what you can do to protect your teeth from the effects.
Do You Have Bruxism?
Subconsciously grinding or clenching your teeth is a condition called bruxism. The main cause of bruxism is stress, but a misaligned bite, too much caffeine, smoking, and alcohol consumption can contribute to teeth grinding as well.
Certain medical conditions can also lead to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. For instance, bruxism in seniors has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and Parkinson’s disease.
Many people don’t even realize they suffer from bruxism, because they only grind their teeth when they are sleeping. Often, dentists are the first to notice signs of bruxism, because they see the effects it has on your teeth.
But if you wake up with a headache every morning, or have jaw pain, bruxism might be the cause. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important to see a dentist to find out whether teeth grinding is the problem.
Bruxism symptoms include:
- Ear pain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Flattened, worn teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Frequent headaches
- Pain in the face, neck, or shoulder
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Jaw pain
- TMJ disorders
- Difficulty staying asleep
The Long Term Effects of Teeth Grinding
The constant pressure and friction from bruxism not only causes painful toothaches, it can also harm your teeth in several different ways over time. For instance, your teeth can start to shift and move if you’re constantly grinding them. It’s essential that you seek treatment for bruxism as soon as possible to prevent its serious consequences.
1: Damaged Teeth
One serious side effect of bruxism is that it causes significant wear. The constant pressure erodes your tooth enamel and flattens your teeth. This makes your teeth more vulnerable to decay, and can cause sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages.
Your teeth can also chip or crack from the force of grinding and clenching. Chipped and cracked teeth are a dental emergency—you will need urgent treatment to prevent infections and protect the sensitive tooth pulp and nerves.
2: Teeth Shifting
The pressure from bruxism can loosen your teeth and make them shift out of place. Shifting teeth do not fit together properly when you bite down, which can cause jaw pain and TMJ disorders. It can also make it difficult to floss between teeth that have moved too close together, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
3: Tooth Loss
When the tremendous force of grinding is combined with shifting teeth, it weakens the tooth roots and makes your gums recede. Eventually, your teeth could become so loose that they fall out.
Receding gums also leave pockets between the gum tissue and tooth roots that collect excessive amounts of bacteria and food debris. These pockets leave your mouth vulnerable to gum disease, which is the number one cause of tooth loss.
How to Protect Your Teeth from the Negative Effects of Bruxism
If you are grinding or clenching your teeth at night, getting a custom nightguard can protect your teeth from shifting and wear. A nightguard fits over your teeth and guides the jaw into a comfortable position, which helps to prevent teeth grinding.
Stress management is another effective way to protect your teeth from bruxism. Practicing yoga or meditation to relieve stress before you go to bed can help reduce night grinding. Avoiding other triggers like caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can also help to reduce bruxism.
Bruxism Prevention Therapy in Sun Lakes, Arizona
Don’t let bruxism destroy your teeth! At Dr. Saba and Associates, we treat teeth grinding and clenching with comfortable, custom-fit mouth guards that protect your teeth from the effects of bruxism. We can also repair teeth that have been damaged by bruxism and restore your smile. Give us a call at 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment.