Grinding and Bruxism Can Cause Tremendous Damage
As I have had the privilege to practice dentistry for over 25 years, I have come to greatly appreciate the effects of grinding and bruxism on the teeth. Many patients often deny they have this habit. They may say they cannot sleep with their mouth closed, they may say their spouse or partner never complains about hearing the sounds of grinding, they may simply deny it, or they may say they used to have the habit but no longer do.
My job is to honestly let patients know what I see. When a patient has a grinding or bruxing habit, the teeth obtain flat broad surface areas that do not naturally exist; the teeth are normally more rounded or curved. This is clearly visible for dentists. The “proof is in the pudding”. This is as clear as seeing excessive wear on automobile tires; there is no doubt. When patients deny what we can simply see, we empathetically try to explain how these forces have existed in the past and most likely are still occurring to some degree. Stressful times easily trigger this habit. If we can be honest with ourselves, we can admit to having some stress in our lives. We try to let patients know that without protection the teeth can crack, decay, break, and weaken. We know this happens. These harmful habits create the bulk of the need for dental treatment that I provide.
In order to protect the teeth, we recommend a custom night guard for night-time wear. While the guard may not prevent grinding, it does very much protect the teeth from the effects of this grinding. We often find that a patient’s dental expendiatures can dramatically decrease within a year or two of wearing a night guard consistently. If the guard can prevent the need for one crown, then it will have already paid for itself. We know from experience that these guards can prevent much more than the need for one crown.
I have had a night guard personally for over 10 years. It is the exact same guard; I have never had to repair nor replace it. To me it is a “no brainer” to obtain one of these if we see evidence of advanced wear. To me the night guard is the best thing in dentistry since fluoride, Xylitol, floss, and the tooth brush to prevent problems. I am not kidding.
If you or anyone you know would benefit from an examination to determine the need for a night guard, we invite you to contact us at (972) 250-2580.
The Often Undiagnosed Dental Problem, Grinding or Bruxism
11-16-2010: People who grind and clench their teeth unintentionally bite down too hard at inappropriate times, such as in their sleep. In addition to grinding teeth, bruxers also may bite their fingernails, pencils, and chew the inside of their cheek. People usually aren’t diagnosed with bruxism until it is too late, as many people don’t realize they have the habit. Others mistakenly believe that their teeth must touch at all times. About one in three people suffer from bruxism, which can easily be treated.
Bruxism can be diagnosed by a dentist. With undiagnosed bruxism, teeth can get severely damaged and require extensive dental care. Any potential for gum disease can get worse from the forces of bruxism. We have seen many patients with great oral hygiene habits and undiagnosed bruxism which led to dental problems. These problems can take much time and money to treat.
Prevention is the key. If you or someone you know has flat tooth edges, experiences tooth sensitivity, has pain upon biting on a particular tooth, or has sore jaw muscles following a night of sleep, we invite you to contact us.