Your teeth and jaws are among the most-used parts of your body, and can be exposed to pressure even when they are not biting and chewing your food. One of the more common risks of exposure is teeth-grinding, or bruxism. Without food between them, your teeth can seriously damage each other, as well as lead to a host of other dental issues, like TMJ disorder. For many patients, bruxism occurs more frequently during sleep, making the condition more difficult to detect. We can recognize the signs of excessive teeth-grinding during your routine dental checkup; however, you can also be aware of the symptoms that you might not realize are warning you of bruxism.
Warning Signs of Teeth-Grinding
Worn down or damaged teeth
As your teeth continuously grind and clench together, often without you’re knowledge, their chewing surfaces can wear down. Left untreated, they may crack or fracture and become immediately susceptible to infection. If you notice that your bite feels off-balance, as though your teeth don’t fit together as they should, or if your teeth feel sensitive, then bruxism may be the reason.
Your TMJs, or temporomandibular joints, are the pivot points that your lower jaw, or mandible, hinges on. TMJ disorder describes a disturbance in these joints (i.e., damage, inflammation, misalignment, etc.) that can generate a wide range of discomfort. Besides jaw pain and tooth sensitivity, you might also experience chronic headaches, earaches, difficulty opening and closing your jaw, popping noises when you move your jaw, and more.
How to Treat Bruxism
Mild to moderate bruxism can usually be treated early with a custom-made mouthguard, designed to protect your teeth from grinding when you sleep at night. The mouthguard will also accommodate your jaw more comfortably, alleviating pressure on your TMJs that might be contributing to bruxism. For more severe cases, we may have to address the underlying condition, such as crooked or missing teeth that could be throwing your bite off-balance.
ABOUT YOUR FT. WORTH DENTIST:
Dr. Bob Jing has served patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth for many years. Together with his caring, compassionate, and highly-skilled team at 7 Day Dental, Dr. Jing is dedicated to making good dental health available to as many people as possible. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation or appointment, contact our office closest to you at 817-405-2001 on Jacksboro Highway, or at 817-405-0195 on Seminary Drive.