Undoubtedly, there are a number of environmental factors that can harm your smile over time; things like sugary snacks, acidic substances, and tobacco products. However, there are also structural issues that can lead to dental damage over time. One of these issues is bruxism.
Bruxism refers to chronic dental grinding and clenching, and this condition is actually much more common than you may think. Many people suffer from bruxism without even realizing it…that is, until problems from bruxism have become quite pronounced.
Patients develop bruxism for a number of different reasons. In some cases, bruxism is short-term and episodic. You may, for example, only grind your teeth during times of stress. When this is the situation, simple stress-reduction measures can go a long way toward alleviating bruxism issues.
In other cases, however, bruxism is caused by a structural imbalance with the patient’s smile. When your top and bottom teeth do not fit together naturally and comfortably, you may start to grind your teeth as a result. And, because bruxism sometimes manifests at night, you may not even realize that you’re clenching your teeth.
If you are a nighttime bruxism sufferer, you may find that your teeth feel sore upon waking, or that your jaw hurts. Patients with bruxism are also prone to suffering from headaches, due to the tension caused by chronic grinding.
Effective bruxism treatment works to minimize dental grinding, while protecting the dental enamel from further tooth-on-tooth damage. Depending on your situation you may benefit from orthodontic treatment, dental bonding, customized restorations, or a protective oral appliance to wear at night.
As a patient, the most important thing is to seek treatment for bruxism in a timely manner. The longer that you wait, the more time bruxism has to damage your teeth and contribute to TMJ dysfunction.
As always, our Elmhurst dentists are here to give you any additional information that you may need. Give us a call to get started!