Teeth grinding refers to the gnashing, clenching, and shifting of the teeth that occurs when someone is asleep. The grinding of the upper and lower teeth can be so severe that over time it results in serious damage to the teeth, gums, and other structures of the mouth.
The team at our Honolulu restorative dentistry center would like to look at the causes of teeth grinding, the dangers posed by teeth grinding, and what treatments may be most ideal for addressing any damage caused by the condition.
What Causes Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)?
Teeth grinding can be caused by a wide variety of things, including the following:
- Poor dental alignment
- Excessive stress
- Side effect of medications
- Side effect of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
Combinations of the above causes are not uncommon.
Wear and Tear on the Teeth
With all of the grinding of your teeth, it should come as no surprise that teeth grinding can lead to serious wear and tear over time. Cracks, chips, abfractions, and other serious fractures may form, making teeth weaker and more likely to break. These fractures can also lead to the exposure of lower layers of a tooth's structure, resulting in tooth sensitivity and dental pain. The discomfort may be especially pronounced when having hot or cold food items or beverages.
Gum Recession from Excessive Clenching
The stress from bruxism doesn't just affect your teeth. The pressure can also have an adverse affect on your gums. Over time, teeth grinding can lead to serious gum recession, exposing your tooth roots. The first sign of this is often tooth sensitivity. This has a negative impact on your dental health as well as the aesthetics of your smile.
Jaw Joint Stress Can Cause a TMJ Disorder
As your teeth clench, the stress can also lead to problems with your jaw joint, which is one of the most complicated joints in your entire body. The steady wear and tear over the years can lead to a dysfunction of the jaw joint. This is known as a TMJ disorder, and it typically leads to popping, locking, or clicking of the jaw. Let untreated, this can lead to jaw pain and more serious issues with the overall comfort and function of your bite.
Treatments for Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Dentists have plenty of options when it comes to treating teeth grinding. One of the first treatments to consider is the use of a mouth guard, which is a plastic retainer that is worn when a person is asleep. This helps prevent direct contact between the teeth, reducing stress on the jaw and various structures of the mouth.
The mouth guard may be used in combination with stress management techniques, orthodontic treatments, and other dental and medical therapies as needed.
Treating the Damage Caused by Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
When it comes to treating the damage done by teeth grinding, dentists can rely on various restorative dentistry procedures. For damage to the teeth, dental restorations are generally the ideal option to consider. To treat gum recession, soft tissue augmentation/grafting is often the ideal treatment. For TMJ disorders, a combination of various therapies may be ideal for addressing pain and other disorders affecting the jaw.
During the consultation process, your dentist can discuss the ideal treatment for you and your needs.
Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatment
If you would like to learn more about treating bruxism and other kinds of dental health problems, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Hawaii Pacific Dental Group looks forward to your visit and discussing these matters in much greater detail.