For patients who experience bruxism, which is the clinical name for chronic teeth-grinding, the condition may not always be obvious. This means that you may not always know immediately when you have grinding your teeth throughout the day, and you may never notice that you are doing it while you sleep at night. Maintaining a regular schedule of dental checkups and cleanings can give your dentist a chance to notice any signs that you are grinding your teeth. Treatment for bruxism is important because the chronic grinding of your teeth can increase your chances of tooth damage, decay, and sensitivity.
The consistent grinding of your teeth often occurs unconsciously. You may subconsciously clench your teeth together during the day or while you sleep. The excessive friction can lead to weakened enamel by creating tiny fractures in the surfaces of your teeth. These minuscule fractures can be large enough to allow bacteria to enter and attack the teeth, which can lead to tooth decay. Tiny fractures in the enamel can also leave your teeth susceptible to cracks and other forms of breakage. When cold or hot air, foods, or drinks come into contact with fractures in your teeth, it can be uncomfortable; this is how bruxism can lead to tooth sensitivity. Bruxism can also lead to frequent headaches when you wake up, jaw pain, or tooth pain, too.
Treating bruxism may first involve addressing the underlying issue that is causing you to grind your teeth. For example, if your jaw reflexively clenches together because your bite is misaligned, then you may need orthodontic treatment to stop the grinding. Many patients can stop grinding their teeth with the help of a custom-designed oral appliance. The appliance rests comfortably over your teeth to prevent them from rubbing together, and can give your jaw some relief from the strain that grinding can cause it.
Grinding your teeth can be problematic for your smile. To schedule a consultation at Austin Prosthodontics, call 512-250-9444. We also proudly welcome patients from Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, and all surrounding Texas communities.