Grinding is something that you don’t want to hear from the gears of your car, nor from your mouth! In today’s hectic society, however, the fact is that many more people show signs of bruxism, the condition in which the jaw clenches or grinds, wearing on teeth. At Big Smile Dental, we help our patients look and feel their best, which sometimes includes finding a solution to teeth grinding.
But first, we must use our best Chicago detective work to recognize symptoms of this condition:
- Biting surfaces of teeth become worn down from clenching and grinding with extreme force.
- Tooth surfaces which come into contact with opposing teeth during grinding may become chipped.
- Cracks in tooth structure may develop as a result of excessive force.
- The sharp biting edges of teeth soften.
- Teeth begin to feel loose.
- Pain may occur in the joints at the back of the jaw, or as a generalized facial discomfort.
- Tissue on the inside of the cheek looks and feels “chewed.”
- Teeth appear shorter.
- Persistent headaches are experienced.
- Existing dental work becomes damaged or fails.
- Tooth sensitivity occurs.
- Gums recede.
- A bed partner complains of the noise made from grinding!
Whether or not a person who grinds his or her teeth feels as though they are “suffering,” it is important that treatment begin for this condition. Tooth grinding places undue stress on the teeth as well as the jaw itself. Many people who are given the diagnosis of TMJ Disorder are also told that grinding and clenching are a big part of their problem. The sooner that teeth grinding can be identified and stopped, the better protected oral health – and an attractive smile – will be.
There are several ways to decrease the risk of grinding, such as avoiding alcohol and caffeine, or taking a warm bath before bedtime to naturally increase relaxation. The problem is that bruxism is a natural tendency in many people; a tendency that is difficult to avoid. Dr. Siegel treats teeth grinding by first understanding that there is no magic solution to stop this habit. Instead of attempting to do so, it is better to recognize the problem and protect teeth with a custom fitted mouth guard. It’s that simple.
Mouth guards designed by your dentist will be more comfortable and more discreet than commercial products that you “customize” at home. Get yours at Big Smile Dental and protect your smile.