None of us are immune to stress, but we all process it in different ways. Some people find it impossible to sleep, tossing and turning all night. Others lose their appetite, yet others overeat. Some of us become irritable throughout the day, finding it impossible to forget their source of anxiety. And countless adults grind their teeth.
Grinding (also known as bruxism) is dangerous for a lot of reasons, but one of the most sinister is that we just don’t realize that we’re doing it. Adults tend to house a lot of stress in their jaws, and this leads to chronic clenching and grinding. It commonly takes place at night, when the grinder is unconscious and most of their muscles are at rest. Clenching or grinding usually doesn’t wake you at the time, but you’ll find yourself feeling tired, with a headache, a sore jaw, and tender teeth, upon waking in the morning. And the negative impacts don’t stop there.
Problems with Long-Term Teeth Grinding
- Enamel erosion – While enamel is the hardest substance in the body, that doesn’t make it impervious to harm. When your teeth grind against one another, your enamel erodes. This leaves your teeth looking smaller, feeling more tender, and your overall smile changing.
- Gum recession – The pressure placed on your teeth and gums by chronic grinding can cause your gums to recede. This exposes the sensitive areas of your tooth roots, which also tend to be darker in color and which yellow your smile.
- Broken dental work – Grinding is the most common cause of an early death for fillings, crowns, veneers, or other restorations. We want your work to last as long as possible, and protecting it from grinding is the first step.
- Sensitive teeth – It’s never nice to struggle through hot or cold drinks, feeling twinges every time the liquid washes over your teeth. But weaker enamel means more daily discomfort.
How Do I Stop Bruxing?
Getting a night guard will add protection to your smile. This custom-fitted guard houses your teeth and prevents many side effects of grinding. Once you’re wearing your guard, we’ll address the underlying reason for your grinding and find a healthy path forward. Just get in touch if you’re interested in learning more.