Clinching and/or grinding your teeth can cause all kinds of problems with your teeth, the muscles in your face, and the joint in your jaw (TMJ). Clinching is when you clamp your teeth together and grinding is when you put your teeth together like when you chew, only you are not chewing any food.
The dental term for grinding or clinching your teeth is bruxism. How do you know if you are bruxing? Often, people brux their teeth without realizing they are doing it. Stress is a major reason why people brux their teeth. Some ways you can tell that you are bruxing are:
When you brux, you are putting excess force on your teeth, which can cause your teeth to chip, crack and/or break apart. One way to know you might have a crack in your tooth, is when you have pain in that tooth upon chewing.
When you have a large chip, crack (fracture), or a broken tooth, you will need to have that tooth restored with crowns, onlays and potentially, root canals and/or dental implants to prevent it from being lost altogether.
What can be done to protect your teeth from bruxism? Visit your dentist. He/she will examine your teeth and discuss bruxism with you. If you are diagnosed with bruxism, your dentist will most likely create a night guard (called a bruxism guard) that will be made specifically for your teeth to protect them from the wear and tear of bruxing. As a result, you will protect your attractive smile!
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