Tooth grinding can occur for a number of reasons, like increased stress or malocclusion, and, if left untreated, can lead to major dental problems. General dentistry treatments can be used to repair damage caused by teeth grinding and prevent further damage from occurring. To learn about your treatment options, schedule a consultation with our team at Ridgewood Dental Associates.
The Dangers of Tooth Grinding
Tooth grinding, also called bruxism, most commonly occurs during sleep and may be a result of anxiety, stress, too much caffeine, malocclusion, or certain medications. Tooth grinding poses many dangers to oral health and should be treated as soon as possible. Untreated tooth grinding can damage the enamel, fracture the teeth, or even wear down the teeth. The dangers of teeth grinding include:
- Tooth decay: Tooth grinding can wear away the protective enamel layer of the teeth, leaving the teeth vulnerable to decay.
- Fractured teeth: The pressure and force tooth grinding puts on the teeth can lead to fractures and cracks. Dental fractures leave the teeth at risk of decay and loss.
- Gum recession: Gum recession is another issue facing those who grind their teeth. Gum recession can expose the tooth roots to bacteria and plaque, leading to decay.
- Severely worn teeth: When tooth grinding goes untreated, it can lead to severely worn teeth.
- Loose teeth: Chronic tooth grinding can cause the teeth to loosen within their sockets.
- Tooth loss: Tooth loss may result from tooth grinding due to the teeth become severely loosened, or extraction may be necessary due to decay or fracture.
- Temporomandibular joint disorder: Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, refers to a dysfunction of the muscles responsible for jaw movement and the movement of the jaw joint itself. Symptoms including clicking of the jaw, pain or difficulty moving the jaw, neck pain, or constant dull headaches. TMD can develop from chronic tooth grinding, or, if it already exists, may become exacerbated.
Tooth Grinding Treatments
If you suffer from tooth grinding, it's important to seek treatment to protect your teeth from major damage. Fully treating tooth grinding requires determining the cause. Fortunately, dental mouth guards can protect your teeth, regardless of the cause of tooth grinding. Some common tooth grinding treatments to consider include:
- Mouth guards: Mouth guards provide a buffer between the teeth, protecting them from the damaging friction of tooth grinding. Custom made mouth guards are comfortable to wear while sleeping and can protect the teeth from tooth grinding, regardless of the cause of bruxism.
- Orthodontics: For some patients, tooth grinding is caused by malocclusion, or misaligned teeth. Orthodontics can realign the teeth to the proper position and treat teeth grinding.
- Stress and anxiety relief: Stress and anxiety can lead to tooth grinding. Practicing stress and anxiety reducing activities, like meditation, yoga, or simply walking, can relieve stress and tension of the jaw and prevent tooth grinding.
- Dental restoration: If dental damage has occurred as a result of tooth grinding, it can be repaired with restorative treatments like dental crowns and porcelain veneers.
Schedule a Consultation
For more information about teeth grinding and available treatments, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.