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How Teeth Grinding Can Affect Your Dental Health

By Dr. Silvers on May 20, 2015


A woman experiencing jaw painThere are many factors that can affect the health of your teeth. Tooth decay, tooth erosion, gum disease, and dry mouth can be damaging to your dental health. But did you know that chronic teeth grinding, a condition known as bruxism, can also have a negative effect on your teeth and gums? The act of grinding or clenching your teeth can wear down the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, making patients more vulnerable to dental problems like tooth decay or tooth sensitivity. With time, chronic teeth grinding can result in the need for restorative dentistry treatment to improve oral health. At Silvers Family Dental Care, we can restore your dental health with teeth grinding treatment and prevention. Contact our Harrisburg practice today to schedule your appointment with us.

Teeth Grinding and Oral Health

Chronic teeth grinding can result in a range of uncomfortable symptoms for patients, including:

  • Tooth pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Earaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Locking or clicking of the jaw when opening and closing the mouth

As you grind or clench your teeth, you gradually wear down the teeth, particularly the biting surface of the molars. As the enamel degenerates, the patient is more likely to experience tooth sensitivity, especially when consuming hot, cold, crunchy, or sticky foods and drinks.

In addition, chronic teeth grinding causes gum recession. Over time, the gum line will recede, exposing the roots of the teeth. This puts patients at a greater risk of tooth decay and sensitivity. This also affects the manner in which the gums frame the teeth.

Finally, chronic teeth grinding is a risk factor for temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder. The excess pressure on the jaw joints can cause them to become inflamed or displaced.

Teeth Grinding Causes

If you suffer from bruxism, we will determine the cause of the condition. We can then recommend treatment to address the underlying cause and prevent the condition. Chronic teeth grinding may be caused by:

  • Bite misalignment or crooked teeth: In this case, we may recommend orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth and align the bite, relieving pressure on the teeth and gums.
  • Missing teeth: If you have missing teeth, it can put excess pressure on surrounding and opposing teeth. We will recommend tooth replacement treatment to fill in gaps.
  • Stress: Stress is more difficult to treat. We recommend that patients engage in the stress-reducing techniques that work for them, such as medication, therapy, or exercise.

Teeth Grinding Treatment

If we are unable to address the underlying cause of your bruxism, we will recommend the use of a mouth guard. The mouth guard should be worn at night to prevent the teeth from grinding and clenching against one another. It also keeps the jaw in proper alignment, reducing the effects of TMJ disorder.

If teeth grinding has already caused dental damage, we can perform restorative treatment. We may use crowns or fillings to replace lost tooth structure, or recommend a gum graft to treat gum recession.

To learn more about chronic teeth grinding symptoms, causes, and treatments, contact Silvers Family Dental Care today.

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