What Are the Dangers of Teeth Grinding - and How Can I Stop?

By on October 06, 2014

A young woman smiling hopefully with teeth exposed, while holding a mouthguard to prevent teeth grindingWhen you unconsciously clench and grind your upper and lower jaw on a daily basis while you sleep, it’s likely that you are suffering from bruxism or chronic teeth grinding. It’s not an uncommon condition, but can be damaging to the teeth and gums. If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth in your sleep, a general dentist can check the teeth for signs of wear. At the practice of Richard C. Ribiero, DDS, in Clarksville, we offer teeth grinding treatment options to prevent this condition from seriously damaging the teeth.

Because teeth grinding often occurs while we are asleep, many patients have no idea that they suffer from bruxism until they start to experience symptoms. The symptoms of teeth grinding include pain that affects the teeth, jaw, head, and neck. Bruxism can also lead to TMJ disorder.

What Are the Biggest Dangers of Teeth Grinding?

Chronic teeth grinding can result in many dental problems, including:

  • Tooth Enamel Erosion - The friction of tooth grinding can wear away the surface of the teeth as they grind together over time.
  • Cracks and Chips - As your teeth weaken with the loss of enamel, you may develop fractures or full breakage.
  • Loss of Viable Biting Surface - Wearing away the flat surfaces of your teeth with constant friction can significantly alter your bite, making it more difficult to align your teeth properly and perform everyday functions like chewing.
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) and Jaw Pain - Chronic pressure from bruxism while you sleep means that your jaw and TMJ muscles never get a rest, which can lead to tightness, stiffness, pain and development of more permanent TMJ disorders.
  • Chronic Headaches - In addition to jaw and joint pain, headaches are another peripheral problem heavily associated with teeth grinding.
  • Dental Restoration Damage - Dental work like porcelain veneers and dental crowns are often only as strong as natural teeth, and sometimes are even more fragile. Just as bruxism can cause damage and erosion to your natural teeth, it can also damage expensive dental work beyond repair.
  • Tooth Loss - In severe and long-lasting cases, the constant movement and friction of bruxism can cause your gums and tooth roots to weaken. This can cause your teeth to become loose, and can even put them at risk for falling out or requiring extraction.

How Can My Dentist Treat My Teeth Grinding Problem?

While some people outgrow teeth grinding after childhood, for many others it’s a lifelong problem that requires treatment and prevention.

Mouthguards are a common and effective way to treat teeth grinding. A guard made of hard or soft plastic can be molded to fit your upper teeth, keeping them separated and physically preventing your teeth from moving against each other while you sleep.

If your dentist determines that your bruxism is conditional, caused by stress or other similar factors, therapy may also be very beneficial in overcoming the root cause of the stress and curbing your actions. If these treatments are ineffective, some doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants to use before sleeping to keep the jaw from clenching and grinding.

Learn More about Teeth Grinding Treatment Options Today

If you or a loved one suspects that you grind your teeth at night, don’t wait until the signs become severe. Contact Clarksville Smiles to schedule an appointment and discuss teeth grinding and treatment options with Dr. Ribeiro today.

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Dr. Ribeiro has been my dentist for many years, and he has always provided exceptional service. His staff is very professional and courteous. They always go out of their way to ensure I have a pleasant experience. Tina Reed

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Clarksville Office

2305 Rudolphtown Rd
Clarksville, TN 37043

More Info Directions (931) 645-6362