How Teeth Grinding Can Slowly Wreck Your Dental Health
If your dentist notices that you're grinding your teeth together, your dentist will do everything within their power to help you stop. However, as strange as it may sound, you might not find it possible to stop. But if you're going to grind your teeth together, your dentist can at least ensure that you don't damage your teeth in the process.
Teeth grinding (formally known as bruxism) has many causes, and in most cases, happens while you sleep—making it involuntary. It can be a manifestation of stress, which your dentist can't help you with (although you may want to identify and address these potential stressors). It can also be due to decay or dental infection, leading to you instinctually changing the set of your jaw (the way your upper and lower dental arches make contact). This can make your teeth grind together. If it's within their power to do so, such as when there's a physical cause for your bruxism, your dentist will correct the issue.
Serious Tooth Decay
Even when the likely cause of bruxism is addressed, your jaw may not immediately reset itself. And the cause may not be identified, in any event. But although the long-term consequences of teeth grinding can be catastrophic, your dentist can help you to easily manage the condition. Without intervention, the end results are comparable to serious tooth decay. The friction caused by grinding causes your teeth to corrode—particularly their biting surfaces. As their protective enamel is worn away, teeth become more vulnerable to decay and will become sensitive (and even painful). This is why teeth grinding must be managed.
There are comprehensive treatment options for teeth grinding. Botox injections can restrict the movement of your mastication muscles, minimizing your grinding. Extreme cases may benefit from corrective jaw surgery. However, most patients won't require such extreme measures. A lightweight, ultra-thin piece of plastic should be more than enough to manage your condition.
Dental night guards are thermoplastic retainers, which resemble invisible braces and other such orthodontic treatments, but with a different goal. It simply stops your upper and lower sets of teeth from being able to touch each other, which eliminates their ability to apply friction to each other.
If your jaw hurts in the morning, and you're noticing increasing sensitivity in your teeth, you may want to schedule an appointment with your dentist. They can assess your teeth for signs of grinding-induced corrosion and can proceed as needed.
To learn more about dental night guards, talk to a professional dentist in your area.