Teeth Grinding: A Cautionary Tale

Teeth grinding in Astoria, NYIt’s 2010, and Spencer has just landed the job of his dreams at an NYC brokerage firm. It’s fast-paced and intensely competitive, but Spencer is capable and driven. His diligence extends to his oral hygiene regime, and he never forgets to schedule his twice-yearly dental exams. Having worn braces as a teenager, his teeth are perfectly straight. He considers his smile his most attractive feature.

Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, who treats teeth grinding in Astoria, NY, explains that even the simplest bad habit can harm your teeth and gums. Grinding your teeth may not seem as destructive as, say, smoking, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. Without treatment, bruxism can set off a chain reaction of damage that affects your teeth, gums, and your body.

Fast forward to 2014. Spencer now earns a six-figure salary and has been promoted twice, nearly doubling his workload and hours spent at the office. He develops a habit of clenching his jaw and grinding his teeth whenever he feels stressed—which is most of the time, actually. His busy schedule leaves no room for regular dental exams and professional cleaning, so he decides that his excellent oral hygiene regimen will suffice.

Daytime and Nocturnal Teeth Grinding

In most cases, people who grit and grind throughout the day do so as a response to feelings of stress and anxiety. Bruxism is common in children, although most will eventually outgrow the habit Nocturnal bruxism has several potential contributing factors, such as disorders of the temporomandibular joint, taking certain medications, and an imbalanced bite. Treatment options for nocturnal bruxism vary. Dr. Leibowitz may recommend that you wear an oral splint or mouthguard while you sleep. Patients who grind their teeth during the day generally benefit from stress management techniques.

When Spencer chips his tooth on a coffee mug, he doesn’t think much of it. When he notices that several of his teeth have tiny cracks in the enamel, he vows to call his dentist at the end of the day but ends up staying late at work. Soon after, he is unsettled to discover that one of his front teeth now has a gray cast to it. Spencer continues brushing and flossing as always, but doesn’t make an appointment, even though his teeth have become very sensitive. It’s not until he is in excruciating pain that he finally sees his dentist.

Restorative and Cosmetic Treatment for Bruxism

Subjecting your teeth to excessive pressure weakens the enamel, making them more prone to chips, cracks, and fractures. Even a small crack can create problems if left untreated. Dr. Leibowitz may recommend dental bonding or porcelain veneers to restore the appearance of teeth that have been worn down or broken by grinding. If the tooth turns gray, a root canal treatment and crown may be needed to prevent the tooth from dying. Long-term consequences include tooth loss, which can be addressed with dental implants or dentures.

Teeth grinding has serious consequences. To learn more about treatment for teeth grinding in Astoria, NY, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, contact us at 718-728-8320. We serve patients living in Astoria, Queens, NYC, upstate New York, and New Jersey. Mention our website to receive a complimentary consultation with Dr. Leibowitz.