Bruxism describes the consistent, unconscious grinding of your teeth, sometimes severely enough to damage your tooth structures. If you wake up and your teeth are noticeably sensitive, or you have sore jaw muscles and cannot explain why, then you may suffer from bruxism, which typically occurs while you’re asleep. Besides the direct damage that grinding can do to your teeth, bruxism can also lead to a list of subsequent dental issues that could grow worse until you seek appropriate treatment.
The Aftermath of Teeth-Grinding
In many cases, bruxism is caused by a culmination of factors that differ for every patient. Common risk factors include excessive stress and an uneven bite, and sometimes, bruxism can result as a side effect of certain medications.
The immediate effects of teeth-grinding can include tooth sensitivity and aching, but in the long-run, the results of untreated bruxism can be more extensive, like;
- Chipped and/or worn tooth edges
- Worn-down chewing surfaces
- Damaged jaw joints (resulting in TMJ disorder)
- Gum recession and loose teeth
- And more
Treatment for bruxism is tailored to every patient’s specific condition. For many cases, a custom-designed mouthguard that you can wear at night may help protect teeth from grinding together, thereby preventing dental damage.
If a tooth has already been damaged, then you might also require a dental crow to restore it. If crooked teeth (malocclusion) is a contributing factor to grinding, then your bruxism treatment plan could include a orthodontic treatment, such as Invisalign®.