What You Should Know About the Dangers of Dental Grinding

You’ve probably heard of teeth grinding before and assume you understand why it happens. Well, it may surprise you, but there are actually many misconceptions about teeth grinding, and in most cases it’s caused by something you may not even have suspected. The team here at our Oakland, New Jersey laser dentistry center would like to take just a few minutes right now to look at teeth grinding, what causes it, and how it can be treated.

What is teeth grinding?

Also known as bruxism and dental grinding, teeth grinding refers to the clenching, gnawing, and shifting of the teeth during the night when patients are asleep. There are a number of telltale signs of teeth grinding which an Oakland, NJ, cosmetic and restorative dentist will be able to spot during a dental visit.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Many people who come to our family dental care practice believe that stress and anxiety are the main causes of teeth grinding. While anxiety can cause teeth grinding to happen, the most common reason that teeth grinding occurs is actually related to the straightness and position of the teeth. When the teeth are crooked or poorly aligned, the jaw is unable to find a comfortable resting position when a person is asleep. This leads to the grinding of teeth at night.

While teeth grinding can cause headaches and earaches and tooth aches, there are two very serious dangers related to teeth grinding that we’d like to focus on right now: tooth damage and TMJ disorders.

Teeth Grinding and Tooth Damage

When consistent undue pressure and stress is placed on the teeth, it becomes more and more likely for cracks and chips to occur. Teeth grinding can wear down enamel and can cause breaks in dental structure, requiring restorative dentistry treatments to properly address the matter.

Teeth Grinding and TMJ Disorders

Teeth grinding is actually the leading cause of TMJ disorders, which you may know as the clicking, locking, pain, and popping of the jaw joint. The consistent stress on the jaw from bruxism will cause all of these problems to occur over time.

Treating TMJ Disorders

Thankfully there are many different treatments for TMJ disorders. For one, many patients are given a bite guard/night guard to wear when they sleep. This prevents contact between the teeth at night, reducing stress on the jaw and the teeth in the process. More invasive TMJ disorder treatments can be used in the case of serious damage to the jaw joint.

Addressing Other Dental Problems Associated with Teeth Grinding

To take care of the tooth damage caused by teeth grinding, inlays, onlays, and New Jersey dental crowns are all common solutions. Should the grinding be caused or exacerbated by stress, relaxation techniques can be recommended.

One of the best ways to alleviate teeth grinding is to undergo orthodontic treatment. By improving the alignment of the dental arches and the teeth, a comfortable at-rest position can be created when a patient sleeps. We can discuss these matters in greater detail during your visit.

Learn More About Your Options for Dental Care

For more information about dental grinding as well as many other dental health problems and how they can be treated, be sure to contact our North Jersey cosmetic and laser dentistry center today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you have the best possible dental health.