The Dangers of Grinding Your Teeth
For most people who grind their teeth, this typically happens during the night when they’re asleep and unconscious. The main triggers of teeth grinding, or bruxism, are stress, anger, misaligned teeth, and sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. People who grind their teeth are often unaware of it until the symptoms start presenting. Some individuals also unknowingly grind their teeth during the day too, whether during tense situations or simply during the daily grind at the desk.
Unfortunately, this puts a lot of pressure on the teeth — as much as ten times the force a person might exert through normal chewing. With so much added wear and tear on your teeth, there are bound to be noticeable consequences, even if the habit itself has escaped your notice.
And if these symptoms sound all-too-familiar, fear not: there are solutions.
Sensitive, Worn-Out, and Broken Teeth
Usually, the first physical indication of chronic teeth grinding is shorter incisors. Patients are also likely to experience worn out or broken teeth, split enamel, receding gum lines, and extreme wear on the molars.
This isn’t just an issue with natural teeth — if you have crowns, tooth fillings, and dental implants, it can also wear them out. All of these can result in difficulty in chewing, drinking hot or cold and drinks, and even brushing. Naturally, the increased sensitivity frequently results in a neglect of oral hygiene in an attempt to avoid the pain of sensitive teeth, leading to further decline in the health of your teeth.
Persistent Jaw Pain
Jaw pains arise from clenching the jaws for too long and grinding the teeth for prolonged periods. This pain will undoubtedly affect your mood and productivity.
But far too many won’t address the issue until the pain becomes almost unbearable. If there’s no visible reason for a throbbing jaw line or sore jaw when you wake up, it might be due to a case of night-time bruxism.
Migraines and Headaches
These tend to happen alongside the jaw pains that arise from chronic teeth grinding. These headaches and migraines can become blinding and debilitating if left for so long. They are caused by a combination of the continuous prolonged grinding through the night, the force exerted, and the subsequent jaw pains.
Faster, More Rapid Aging
Teeth grinding often results in shorter teeth. Therefore, when the individual closes their mouth, their jaws would appear to be closer.
With time, the muscles around the jaw will slacken while the lips disappear and the skin sags, essentially making the individual look older than they really are. This may not be a real concern when you’re in your 20’s and 30’s. But it can become more noticeable as you continue to age.
Teeth Grinding Solutions and Treatment Options
Once you have been diagnosed with bruxism, there are multiple treatment options available to you. These treatment options will depend on the severity of your teeth grinding. Mild teeth grinding may require nothing more than a mouth guard to stop you from grinding your teeth at night when you’re asleep.
But for people who have already developed cracks and chips in their teeth, this damage will have to be addressed. If your teeth grinding is as a result of dental alignment issues, your dentist might recommend Invisalign to correct them. More extreme cases may require some reconstruction. Contact us at Orlando Smiles and our dentist will help you determine the best treatment plan based on the nature and extent of the damage to your teeth, and help you to prevent further issues.