Bruxism (pronounced BRUK-sizm) is the medical term for forceful clenching and/or grinding of your teeth. It is considered a major cause of tooth problems. Some patients will say that they notice signs of wear, but it is not just a cosmetic problem (although worn down teeth can age you as bad if not worse than wrinkled skin).
The action of grinding- where your upper and lower teeth move back and forth with great force against each other- causes your teeth to flatten. Allowed to persist, grinding causes temperature sensitivity, pain because the wear gets down to the nerve, cracks in the teeth, receding gums and eventually lost teeth. To fix these, patients often will need total oral rehabilitation with crowns, veneers, bridges and root canals.
Grinding can also cause migraine headaches and pain in the shoulders, jaws, neck, back and ears. It has also been blamed for temporomandibular joint dysfunction, mysterious morning pain and unexplained facial pain.
It has been found that there is significant reduction in tooth wear and tear after providing patients with a night guard. The dentist will take into account your specific situation to give you the right kind of night guard depending on what your grinding pattern is. You dentist’s office will take impressions of your teeth so that the dental lab can make a night guard that is the exact match to your teeth.
If you have noticed wear and tear on your teeth, are experiencing any symptoms that you suspect might be from grinding your teeth or if your spouse has to wear earplugs at night because of the noise, don’t be surprised if your dentist says that you should be wearing a night guard. It may not be sexy, but it’s much sexier than missing teeth.
At Toothworks, we're specially trained to identify bruxism and ensure early and long lasting treatment for your clenching, tooth grinding and worn teeth issues with night guards or with total oral rehabilitation.