Dr. Paul E. Brown and Dr. Christopher S. Baran offer the patients of Wilmington some of the most advanced dental care in the region. This includes advanced cosmetic dentistry procedures to enhance smile aesthetics as well as restorative dentistry services that improve overall health and wellness.
Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a common dental health issue that many people misunderstand. Let's take a moment to consider what it is and how it can be treated.
About Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Teeth grinding refers to the act of gnashing, shifting, and clenching your teeth while asleep. This can lead to headaches during morning, jaw pain, sore teeth, sore gums, and a host of other serious issues.
The Causes of Teeth Grinding
The most common causes of teeth grinding are as follows:
- Excessive stress
- Poor jaw alignment
- Poor dental alignment
- Use of certain medications/drugs
It's not uncommon for people to experience a combination of the above when they suffer from teeth grinding.
The Dangers of Teeth Grinding Going Untreated
If a case of teeth grinding goes untreated, it can lead to a number of serious dental health problems, including:
- Tooth Damage – The constant pressure placed on the teeth can lead to chips, cracks, and weakening of the tooth structure. In serious cases of teeth grinding, teeth may break and be more susceptible to root canal infection.
- Gum Recession – In addition to affecting the teeth, bruxism can also lead to receding gums. This means the exposure of more of a tooth's roots. This can lead to tooth decay below the gumline, tooth sensitivity, and even loose teeth and tooth loss.
- TMJ Disorders – The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most complicated joints in the body. The stress placed on the structures of the jaw can result in a TMJ disorder, which means an issue with the overall alignment and function of the jaw joint. This results in jaw pain as well as clicking, locking, and poor overall mobility of the jaw.
Bite Guards for Teeth Grinding
A bite guard is a type of retainer that is worn during sleep. The bite guard prevents the teeth of the upper dental arch making contact with the teeth of the lower dental arch. This reduces the amount of pressure exerted on the teeth and the jaw, which alleviates symptoms associated with teeth grinding.
Orthodontics for Teeth Grinding
Since dental alignment can lead to teeth grinding in many cases, orthodontic care is a common treatment for teeth grinding. By improving the overall alignment of a person's bite, a patient is less likely to experience issues with teeth grinding when they are asleep as the teeth have a relaxed resting position.
Stress Management for Teeth Grinding
Relieving stress is a great way to help treat teeth grinding. This may mean exercise, relaxation techniques, and other strategies to keep anxiety under control.
Proper Treatment Means Identifying the Cause(s)
Ultimately, a combination of the above is not uncommon for treating teeth grinding. For the most effective care possible, it's important that dentists identify the underlying cause of the teeth grinding and treat that.
Contact Dr. Paul E. Brown and Dr. Christopher S. Baran
To learn more about teeth grinding and how it can be treated, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Paul E. Brown and Dr. Christopher S. Baran look forward to your visit and going over your options for treatment in greater detail.