Most patients are not surprised to learn that chronic teeth grinding, clinically known as bruxism, can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and other disorders of the jaw. However, some are shocked to find out that teeth grinding can cause serious dental damage, as well. While your teeth are designed to withstand the pressures of biting and chewing, they are not intended to come into contact with each other for several hours each day as they do if you grind your teeth habitually. And while restorative dentistry can help to repair the damage done by teeth grinding, it is equally important to address the condition of bruxism itself to prevent further damage.
In discussing the issue of dental damage and teeth grinding during consultations at his Washington, DC practice, Dr. Neil Starr explains why bruxism is dangerous to a person’s oral health and how it can be treated. Ultimately, seeking treatment for teeth grinding in the present can help a patient to avoid much costlier treatment for more serious dental problems, not to mention the pain associated with them, in the future.
If you grind your teeth, or you are experiencing any of the symptoms of teeth grinding, please contact our practice to schedule your initial appointment with Dr. Starr today.
What Dental Damage Can Be Done Due to Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding can be caused by a variety of oral health problems. Even worse, if your teeth grinding is caused in part by existing oral health problems, such as malocclusion or misalignment, it can contribute toward making these problems even worse. Over time, teeth grinding can:
- Cause enamel erosion: Although the protective enamel layer of your teeth is extremely strong, it can be worn down through the constant friction of teeth grinding. Even people who brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly can experience the loss of tooth enamel due to teeth grinding. Once the protective enamel has worn away, the teeth become more susceptible to cavities, root canal infections, and other problems.
- Lead to chips and fractures in teeth: The teeth can take only so much pressure before they weaken and become chipped or fractured. People who clench and grind their teeth with excessive force can actually break their teeth eventually.
- Fracture existing restorative work: Teeth grinding can lead to existing dental restorations, including crowns and bridges, becoming fractured or dislodged.
- Lead to orthodontic issues: As stated above, patients with existing malocclusion or misalignment are more likely to grind their teeth, which in turn can cause these issues to worsen. Likewise, patients without these orthodontic issues could develop them due to teeth grinding.
- Accelerate tooth loss: Among patients with gum disease, teeth grinding can hasten the tooth loss process. Gum disease is the number-one cause of tooth loss among adults; in its latter stages, the gums actually pull away from the teeth. At this point, tooth grinding simply aids in the loosening of the teeth.
Learn More about Dental Damage and Teeth Grinding
To learn more about dental damage and teeth grinding, please contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today.