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The Devastating Effects Of Teeth Grinding

Ever get stressed and clench your jaw so hard your muscles hurt? You were probably aware of your actions when you did that but did you know there’s a condition where teeth grinding and clenching is done unaware? Also called bruxism, teeth grinding and clenching can be serious, especially if it’s happening when you don’t realize it – possibly in your sleep!

Many bruxers are unaware of their condition. If a bed partner is awake at night they may hear it, or it could possibly wake them, but otherwise it tends to go unnoticed! This condition has a lot of serious side effects and could lead to the need for major reconstructive dentistry!

What Causes Bruxism?

It’s hard to know what causes bruxism since it happens to so many people for so many different reasons! It can be caused by stress, anxiety, poor tooth alignment, sleep apnea, as a side effect from medication, as a way to focus, or even because of acid reflux! Because of these wide range of possible causes it’s difficult to nail down the reason a particular patient is a bruxer.

Because we can’t easily figure this out and because it’s nearly impossible to eliminate we take more conservative approaches to care. At our Cincinnati dentist office we prefer to use nighttime mouthguards to protect your teeth from harm! These custom made soft plastic mouthguards fit snugly over your teeth and absorb the forces of grinding and clenching. You’ll sleep better, wake up in less pain, and be saving yourself a lot of dental pain later on!

Bruxism Risks Over Time

While it might be unnoticeable now bruxism won’t always stay that way! There are some serious long-term effects linked to bruxism and some of them can even result in the loss of teeth!

  • The joint that connects your jaw to your skull is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. Over time bruxism can irritate the joint, cause cartilage breakdown, and even lead to arthritis! TMJ pain can cause lockjaw, muscle pain, difficulty chewing or speaking, and a whole bunch of bad conditions. That’s why it’s important to treat bruxism now!
  • One of the most common ways bruxism is diagnosed is by your dentist noticing excessive teeth wear. Because of the incredibly force placed on the teeth of a bruxism patient the teeth wear down prematurely, leading to pain, enamel loss, cavities, and the need for crowns!
  • Your teeth may be strong but they aren’t indestructible! Continued pressure and grinding can lead to cracked tooth syndrome! This involves microfractures that are invisible to the naked eye but can still cause serious pain, tooth decay, and risk for tooth loss! If you’ve noticed a serious persistent toothache you may be suffering from cracked tooth syndrome!
  • Left untreated bruxism can lead to serious changes in your bite. Much like the forces placed on your teeth by orthodontic treatments, bruxism forces your teeth to move ever so slightly. Over time this can lead to loosening of your teeth! When your bone starts to be unable to support your teeth with the strength it needs you’re at risk for complete tooth loss! The loss of just one tooth can cause a chain reaction of loss that leaves you without a single tooth!

 

It might seem that grinding your teeth is a small thing now but think of years down the road. You might find yourself in serious pain, without teeth, or needing expensive treatments to save your smile and oral health! And all because you were just grinding your teeth!

Let Us Help You!

Bruxism is the kind of condition that starts out small but quickly snowballs into serious health risks. If you think you may be suffering from bruxism let us help you in the easiest way possible: with a thorough exam and the construction of a custom fit nightguard! By wearing this simple, comfortable oral appliance now you can be saving yourself years of pain and hassle later on!

Don’t wait for treatment! Call Anderson Dental Care at (513) 231-7755 or request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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