During your dental checkup, your dentist says that they see signs that you grind or clench your teeth, a condition called bruxism. Then you realize that you’ve been clenching your teeth a lot lately from stress. Or perhaps you grind your teeth while you sleep. These two actions may seem small and insignificant at first, but they actually can have a notable influence on you and your smile in the long term. Keep reading to learn more about bruxism and what your dentist can do to help alleviate it.
Effects on Your Teeth
By necessity, your teeth can endure quite a bit of pressure to chew and grind your food up for digestion. However, if your teeth are frequently clenched or grind without the presence of food, they can begin to be negatively affected in noticeable ways. The protective layer of enamel can wear down, exposing the layer of dentin beneath. Not only is this layer yellow, giving your teeth a more dulled appearance, but it also contains tubules that connect to the nerves of the tooth. As a result, you can experience tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks. Or worse, your tooth can eventually become so weak that it cracks or breaks.
It is also worth noting that dental work, including fillings and crowns, can also be susceptible to breakage from bruxism. In order to protect your teeth and dental work from unnecessary damage, you need to seek treatment for your teeth grinding or clenching.
Effects on Your Jaw and Head
When you clench or grind your teeth, it can affect much more than just your mouth. If you do this during sleep, you can experience headaches particularly in the morning, pain in your jaw, and other ill effects. That’s because these actions put excessive pressure on and can cause misalignment of the jaw joint, called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is located just in front on your ears. When the TMJ is not aligned properly, it can impact your ability to use your jaw in normal functions and your ability to fully enjoy life.
How Your Dentist Can Help
The good news is that your dentist can help you overcome your teeth grinding and clenching through simple treatment and TMJ therapy. To address bruxism, you dentist can provide a custom-made oral appliance that you can wear during sleep that keeps your top and bottom teeth from impacting each other and causing additional damage. It can also help reestablish the proper alignment for your jaw, relieving the source of your TMJ pain.
In the end, in order to protect your oral and overall health, it is worth the time and effort to have your bruxism addressed. Your dentist can offer a solution that can spare your teeth and jaw from excessive pressure, allowing you to focus on other important things in life. For more information about bruxism or TMJ disorders, contact your dentist in Farmington.
About the Author
Dr. Leslie Metzger has years of dental experience and continues to pursue training and education to bring the best treatment available to her patients. She has served on the Michigan Dental Society’s Continuing Education Committee and has received the prestigious Michigan Dental Association Public Relations Award. At Monet Aesthetic Dentistry, she offers treatment for TMJ issues. To schedule an appointment with her, call (248) 476-3410 or click here.