Your teeth are the most-often used parts of your body. Most of their function involves biting and grinding your food so you can process it, which requires an immense amount of pressure from your jaw muscles. When healthy, your teeth are strong enough to withstand that pressure easily – unless there’s nothing between them, and they’re forced to grind against each other. Bruxism, or chronic teeth-grinding, can occur for a variety of reasons. What’s common, though, is the risk to your oral health if you allow the condition to keep wearing down your healthy tooth structure.
As your teeth wear each other down
When you have bruxism, you don’t just clench your teeth together on occasion, as most of us do. On the contrary, your bite will subconsciously force your teeth to grind against each other consistently throughout the day and/or night. Given the enormous pressure of your bite, this grinding can quickly wear down or damage your teeth, especially where they meet each other on their chewing surfaces. As the wear gets worse, you might start feeling your bite change, feeling off-balance every time you bite, chew, or close your jaw. The tooth wear can also lead to increasingly sensitivity in one or more of your teeth, which will also grow worse the longer you continue to grind them together.
Diagnosing bruxism (chronic teeth-grinding)
Bruxism can sometimes be tricky to pinpoint for patients who experience it. If you’ve heard of bruxism, you might worry any time you catch yourself grinding your teeth if you have it. If you’ve never heard of it, you may never consider the constant grinding of your teeth a problem. The most effective way to detect and address bruxism as early as possible is to visit your dentist for routine cleanings and exams. During each examination, your dentist can carefully check for signs of bruxism, such as the wearing down of your tooth structure, to determine if you need to address your teeth-grinding.
Facing the danger with help from your dentist
If you’re diagnosed with bruxism, then treating your condition as soon as possible is the best way to prevent it from causing more damage to your teeth. Because it’s a condition, you can’t successfully stop bruxism on your own. Instead, your dentist will help you diagnose the reason why you grind your teeth and address it with customized treatment. In many cases, this can include a custom-designed oral appliance, or nightguard, that allows you to protect your teeth from grinding while you sleep at night.
Stop wearing your teeth down with bruxism
Your teeth are meant to handle a lot, but untreated bruxism can wear them down significantly if you don’t address it. For more information, schedule your consultation by calling Family First Dental in Overland Park, KS, today at 913-381-2600.