We recently discussed TMJ disorder, and in doing so briefly mentioned bruxism, the chronic grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw. In today’s blog, your Astoria, NY, dentist would like to take a closer look at this disorder, and why treating it is so essential for protecting your teeth from injury and cavities. Don’t let bruxism damage your smile!
The Causes of Chronic Teeth Grinding
Why does bruxism develop in the first place? The causes of teeth grinding could include high levels of stress in your daily life, or possibly bite imbalance due to misalignment or tooth loss. Injury to the face or jaw has been linked to this disorder, as has untreated TMD. When we examine your smile and assess the wear and friction on your teeth, we will identify the cause and take that into account when prescribing treatment for your grinding and clenching.
Long-Term Damage and Complications
Without treatment, the pressure could begin to wear down enamel, exposing the sensitive inner layers of dentin to harmful bacteria. Soon, your teeth could begin to ache and feel sensitive as cavities and dental infection form. In addition, the pressure could crack or chip a tooth, again allowing bacteria access to the sensitive layers of your tooth structure. Over time, an untreated infection could even mean the risk of tooth loss. If you begin to experience pain and sensitivity in one or more teeth, as well as headaches or jaw pain, then please let us know right away so we can offer a diagnosis and discover the cause.
How do we treat bruxism? For some, we may suggest ClearCorrect™ aligners, which help correct misalignment with a series of barely noticeable plastic aligners. We could also help improve bite balance with the placement of one or more custom-made dental crowns. However, the most common solution is an oral appliance. We create them based on detailed impressions and measurements we take of your smile and jaw. Patients wear the device at night, which repositions the jaw to ease pressure on the joints and improve bit balance, preventing further grinding and clenching episodes. The device also places a barrier between the upper and lower teeth to prevent further damage. During treatment, we may also suggest cutting back on caffeinated drinks, hard or chewy foods, or chewing on hard objects, like pens, pencils, or ice. A warm compress against the side of the face can help ease tension in the joints as well.
Do You Have Questions About Teeth Grinding?
We can help find the best solution to your bruxism, restoring your smile’s health and comfort. For more information on our preventive treatment options, then schedule a consultation, call Jeffrey Leibowitz, DDS, in Astoria, NY, today at 718-728-8320.