Do You Grind Your Teeth?

Most patients are unaware that they are grinding or bruxing their teeth because it usually happens while they sleep. A few may wake with a headache, toothache or a sore face. In addition to causing discomfort, grinding can wear away or fracture tooth enamel and dentin. But the largest concern is losing the tooth supporting bone

Bruxism can develop at any age, children as well as adults, can grind their teeth. Although the causes of bruxism are not really known, several factors seem be involved. Stressful situations, problems sleeping, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth may responsible.

Regular dental checkups are important to detect damage in the early stages. Your dentist can diagnose and treat irregular wear on teeth and determine the source of facial pain that may result from bruxism.

Based on your dentist’s diagnosis, one or more treatments may be recommended. The dentist may suggest a night guard that can be worn while sleeping. Custom-made by the dentist from soft inner and hard outer material to fit your teeth, the night guard slips over teeth and prevents contact between them. In addition to providing cushioning, the night guard relieves some of the pressure of grinding and clenching, which can damage jaw joints.

An abnormal bite, one in which teeth do not fit well together, may lead to grinding. Treatment may involve reducing the “high spots” on one or more teeth. For serious cases, your dentist may suggest reshaping or reconstructing the biting surfaces of the teeth.

Grinding is a very common. If you suspect that you are routinely grinding your teeth, see your dentist about protecting your smile.