Teeth Grinding: More than just a bad habit, it’s a dental concern
Teeth grinding frequently gets it start during periods of sleep. Since this is a subconscious act, the patient is usually unaware of this occurring. However, there are clues and your family dentist is trained to spot them to provide the intervention needed to prevent further damage.
Very often a nighttime partner is the first one to be made aware of teeth grinding. For the single person, the indicators may take a while to spot. They include awakening with aches in the neck, jaw, ear, or head. Problems with teeth due to pressure may occur.
The sources of teeth grinding can be stress or anxiety; but for many individuals the problem starts due to a dental malocclusion. This is a condition due to a cross bite, over bite, or under bite … when the upper teeth do not align correctly with the bottom arch the teeth slide off each other rather than meet to chew. [pullquote]There are clues and your family dentist is trained to spot them to provide the intervention needed to prevent further damage.[/pullquote]
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching may start out as a sleeping habit; however once a nighttime habit becomes ingrained, the patient may continue the habit throughout the day without even realizing it is happening.
The problems of unchecked teeth grinding are numerous. They include worn dental enamel resulting in the potential for dental decay. Pressure from grinding or clenching can crack or break a tooth. This can signal the need for root canal therapy and/or dental crowns.
If this act is allowed to continue, another serious condition may evolve known as TMJ (an inflammation of the temporomandibular joint located above the jaw in front of the ears). Thankfully your dentist can offer a solution to help overcome the teeth clenching and jaw grinding habit.
A night guard can be fabricated for your specific needs. Styles, materials, and the number of teeth involved in the fitting of a night guard will be addressed. Your dental provider offers professional guidance and the best fit possible to allow you to wear a mouth guard throughout your periods of sleep in comfort.
Mouth guards purchased without this expertise can result in a poor fit which will normally result in not wearing it. An ill-fitting guard can create mouth sores while not offering the maximum protection you deserve.