Bruxism is the grinding and clenching of the teeth. It can happen during the daytime, or may happen when you’re sleeping. Some people never even realize that they’re doing it, unless symptoms are severe or someone notices it during the night. For instance, it can be very loud and disrupt another person’s sleep.
Some of the ways you can know if you’ve been grinding your teeth include:
Premature wear from bruxism will decrease the life of your teeth, and present aesthetic problems. Grinding doesn’t only cause your teeth to be worn down prematurely, it can also cause damage to restorations like fillings and crowns, requiring them to be replaced much more frequently.
Your dentist may need to replace damaged restorations or repair teeth. Bonding, new fillings, or crowns may be needed. The best way to prevent the need for treatment is to resolve your grinding habit. Lessening the stress in our life isn’t always an option (and it’s a big contributor to clenching and bruxism.) Your dentist will recommend wearing a customized bite guard or bitsplint that will both prevent wear as well as reposition the jaws into a resting position. Not only will this avoid future wear, it will also decrease muscle pain and fatigue.
Ask your dentist if you’re grinding! An examination of your wear patterns, tooth surface, TMJ, and muscle tone in the jaws can easily determine if you would benefit from bite splint therapy.
Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid
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