The Dangers of Teeth Grinding

By Steven Kail on September 22, 2014

A young, bearded man smiling happily, his teeth looking unworn, suggesting that he does not grind his teethMillions of people grind their teeth. Some do it when they’re angry while others do it when they’re stressed. The vast majority do it unknowingly while they’re fast asleep. Unfortunately, when it comes to teeth grinding, what you don’t know actually can hurt you.

What may surprise you, however, is that modern restorative dentistry offers a variety of solutions to teeth grinding, from custom night guards to oral surgery. However, before treatment is prescribed, the condition must first be diagnosed, and the patient must understand why the condition is more than simply an annoyance.

During consultations between our renowned dentists and our valued patients at Premier Dental Center in Jackson, teeth grinding dangers are explained and discussed in detail before bruxism therapy is prescribed. The following post contains just some of the most common hazards associated with teeth grinding. The surest way to find out how teeth grinding may specifically be affecting your oral health is to meet with either Dr. Joseph Leonard or Dr. Chris Arnold for a one-on-one, confidential consultation at Premier Dental Center.

What causes teeth grinding?

There are several possible causes of teeth grinding, and in some cases, a definitive cause cannot be diagnosed. The most common causes of teeth grinding are stress and anxiety. This is true whether among both those who grind their teeth when they are awake and those who grind their teeth when they are asleep. Other common causes of teeth grinding include misalignment of the teeth, bite problems (clinically known as malocclusion), and frequent disturbances to sleep.

What are the hazards associated with teeth grinding?

As you might imagine, the friction caused by the upper teeth scraping against the lower teeth is not healthy for the teeth themselves, the gums, or the jaw. Indeed, teeth grinding can cause health problems throughout the mouth and beyond.

The most common health issues that are connected with teeth grinding include:

  • Wear and tear: The tooth can become worn over time, with the hard, protective outer layer - the enamel - possibly becoming eroded. At this point, the underlying layer, the dentin, becomes exposed, making the tooth more vulnerable to decay and other damage
  • TMJ disorder: The temporomandibular joints are the joints located in front of the ears on either side of the head, connecting the lower jaw to the skull. Constant grinding of the teeth can cause the painful condition known as TMJ disorder, which in turn can manifest itself as chronic jaw, head, and shoulder pain.
  • Headaches, ear aches, and neck aches
  • Structural damage to the teeth: Eventually, the pressure exerted on the teeth can result in structural damage, including chips and cracks.
  • Tooth pain
  • Broken fillings and other dental restorations
  • Loose teeth
  • Damage to the gums
  • Aching jaw muscles
  • Uneven front teeth
  • Tinnitus
  • Increased risk of cavities
  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cold liquids

Even if you aren’t experiencing any of these dangers currently, you are at risk of experiencing them in the future if you currently grind your teeth. It is better to seek treatment now and be safe than to assume that you are in the clear and be sorry.

For further information about bruxism or to schedule your initial consultation with one of our talented dentists, please contact Premier Dental Center today.

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