How Teeth Grinding Can Ruin Your Smile
Posted on 2/21/2022 by Aron Geelan, DMD
|Everyone has different involuntary habits - some people bite their nails, others twirl their hair around their fingers. For some people, though, one of the most common involuntary habits is teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism. In fact, up to 8% of adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of tooth grinding or bruxism.
What is bruxism, and what are the symptoms?
Bruxism is the grinding of teeth, and you can do it consciously or unconsciously. The most common symptoms are headaches, jaw pain, and sore teeth. Bruxism can lead to broken teeth, tooth decay, and even gum recession in severe cases. Although not everyone gets these symptoms, and some people only grind their teeth at night, it's important to be aware of the potential consequences of bruxism.
How can teeth grinding damage your smile and oral health?
When you grind your teeth, you're putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on them. This can lead to chips, cracks, and even breaks. In addition, all that grinding can wear down your tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to decay.
Your jaw can also start to hurt, and in severe cases, bruxism can even cause temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). A TMJ disorder is a condition that affects the joint connecting your jawbone to your skull. It can cause pain in your jaw, neck, and shoulders, and it can even make it difficult to open your mouth, which can be very painful and incredibly uncomfortable.
What are some of the best ways to stop teeth from grinding and protect your smile from further damage?
If you think you might be grinding your teeth, the first step is to see your dentist. In some cases, all you need is a mouthguard. A custom-made mouthguard will fit snugly over your teeth and protect them from the damage of grinding. In addition, if stress is the cause of your bruxism, several relaxation techniques can help reduce clenching and grinding.
It's important to seek help if you're experiencing any symptoms of bruxism. With the right treatment, though, you can protect your smile and keep yourself feeling healthy and happy.