Despite the resilience of human teeth, they can be relatively brittle. From the beginning, they're worn away by chewing, acidity, and decay. Proper dental hygiene is essential for ensuring they remain intact, but avoiding certain habits is equally as important. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can significantly damage your teeth and potentially result in severely debilitating conditions. Professional help from a qualified prosthodontist could be essential for controlling the problem and retaining the structural integrity of your mouth overall.

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

Most often, tooth grinding is an unconscious habit, thought to be a result of anger, anxiety, or stress. It's often done while sleeping, which can leave many people unaware that they're doing it at all. Slight pains in the jaw, teeth, and elsewhere could all be indicative of unconscious bruxism. In children, the causes for grinding may be a result of irritation, misalignment, or allergies. 

 

Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding:

There are some symptoms which may indicate you're grinding your teeth. If any of these symptoms persist, it may be a sign that you're experiencing unconscious bruxism.

  • Sore Jaw
  • Dull Headache
  • Painful or Loose Teeth
  • Tooth Fractures

 

Long-Term Effects:

Grinding your teeth can result in a variety of debilitating health concerns over time. These issues sometimes require more advanced forms of treatment such as reconstructive surgeries, implants, and medication therapy. Early elimination of teeth grinding is the best way of preventing these issues. 

Tooth Breakage or Loss 

Teeth that are severely worn down are at an increased risk of breaking, which would likely require replacement.

Inflammation of Salivary Glands

The muscles used to grind your teeth can become inflamed from overuse, causing blockages in your salivary glands leading to pain, swelling, and soreness.

Chronic Migraines

Grinding your teeth sends numerous signals through your trigeminal nerve. When overloaded, this can lead to head pain.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Grinding can cause TJD/TMJ or worsen the condition if it already exists. This can cause severe pain and has even been linked to arthritis, trauma, neoplasia, and dislocations.

Occlusal Wear

As the chewing surfaces and incisal edges of teeth are worn down, this allows a decrease in the vertical dimension of your face (A.K.A. collapsed bite). In severe cases, the enamel (protective outer surface) may wear away exposing more sensitive underlying dentin or even expose the pulp of the teeth leading to need for root canal treatment.

Hypertrophy

Excessive growth of the jaw muscle can result in a square-jaw looking face that would require surgery to correct.

Popping Jaw Joint

The popping or clicking of joints in the jaw, often involving severe pain.

 

How Can A Prosthodontist Help?

Prosthodontists are specialists in prosthetic dentistry. For them, surgeries involving the shape and structure of teeth are quite common. Bruxism is a major concern for the overall health of the mouth, meaning prosthodontists are regularly confronted with the issue. For these reasons, there are a number of ways your prosthodontist can help you with teeth grinding. It's important to note that there are no treatments which can prevent it entirely, however, there are ways of treating it to prevent worse health concerns from developing.

One thing your prosthodontist might recommend for teeth grinding is a mouth guard, also referred to as a bite splint or occlusal appliance. This is a device that is worn in the mouth to protect your teeth while sleeping or during other daytime activities when clenching and/or grinding may be occurring (example: weight lifting, driving, etc.).

These can easily be adjusted and replaced as needed, and they provide a safer surface to grind your teeth against. Other measures include restorative dentistry to regain lost tooth surfaces and to create a protective layer against further damage. Treatments like these can reduce the rate in which teeth wear down, which in turn can reduce your chances of sustaining serious health problems.

 

Where Can I Find A Reliable Prosthodontist Near Me?

Dr. Tyler has been working in the field of dentistry for more than 20 years and his practice is located in Stuart, Florida. Our team at Stuart Prosthetic Dentistry is determined to provide a comprehensive level of care that goes above and beyond the ordinary. Contact us here for any questions and schedule a consultation today!