Will Teeth Grinding Damage My Smile?

When we grind or clench our teeth on a near nightly basis, this could mean the presence of bruxism, a serious oral health issue that could cause major complications. In fact, this issue could potentially even damage your smile. In today’s blog, your Richfield, MN, dentist talks about how we diagnose and treat bruxism, often easing discomfort with a simple oral appliance.

The Risks of Bruxism

When we grind and clench our teeth, this places enormous pressure on the smile. Eventually, the pressure could begin to wear down the protective layer of outer enamel, and even crack or chip a tooth. This exposes inner structures to harmful bacteria, leading to a greater risk of painful cavities and infection, and increasing the overall risk of tooth loss. The pressure on the jaw joints could also lead to the onset of TMJ disorder, a jaw joint disorder linked to popping or clicking in the jaw, headaches and migraines, pain in the neck and shoulders, and even trouble opening and closing the mouth. Treating the disorder is crucial for avoiding these harmful complications.

The Warning Signs

Your significant other may alert you to your nightly teeth grinding and if this happens, let us know so we can offer a solution. Otherwise, you may need to be aware of the symptoms that occur during the waking hours, such as headaches, migraines, facial and neck pain, shoulder aches, tooth sensitivity, and regular toothaches. When we examine your smile, we will look for wear and friction on the teeth, and examine the jaw joints and oral structures for other signs of tension and strain. From there, we will be able to choose the most appropriate treatment option. The cause of this issue vary, but could include tooth loss, high levels of stress in your daily life, untreated TMJ disorder, misalignment, bite imbalance, and even injury to the face or jaw.

Treating Your Teeth Grinding

The solutions we prescribe could vary. For example, sometimes treating misalignment with orthodontics could ease strain, as could correcting bite balance with a restoration. However, the most common solution is to create an oral appliance.  Worn at night and fitting like a mouthguard, this device repositions the jaw to ease strain and prevents further damage by placing a preventive barrier between the upper and lower sets of your teeth. We create them based on detailed images and impressions we take of your smile. If you have any questions about identifying and treating bruxism, then please contact our team today.

Do You Grind or Clench Your Teeth?

We want to restore health, function, and comfort to your smile with general and preventive dentistry. Remember to schedule a visit now to use your 2019 benefits before they expire. To find out more about our treatment options, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Keller by calling Cedar West Family Dentistry in Richfield, MN, today at (612) 861-7188.