One of the biggest problems with bruxism (chronic teeth-grinding) is that patients don’t always realize when they have it. Unlike some oral health concerns, like cavities or gum disease, some of the symptoms of bruxism don’t really become noticeable until they become severe. That includes significant damage to your tooth structure, as well as several other problems that may depend on the specific cause of your bruxism. Today, we examine just how bruxism threatens your teeth and oral health, and a few of the signs that can warn you to seek treatment before it causes any more harm.
Grinding your teeth more than you realize
Bruxism describes the consistent grinding of one’s teeth, and its causes are more diverse than its symptoms. While tooth decay and gum disease can be traced back to specific types of oral bacteria, patients can develop bruxism for completely different reasons. One case may be due to a bite imbalance that makes it impossible for teeth and oral structures to rest properly. Another may be the result of prolonged tension in the jaw muscles due to excessive levels of stress, along with one or more other underlying factors. What all bruxism patients have in common, however, is the fact that their healthy tooth structures can only take so much before they start to wear down, become weak, and in some cases, severely damaged.
The early warning signs to seek treatment
Grinding your teeth several times throughout the day may be one hint that you have bruxism, but for some patients, the grinding might not occur until nighttime. In addition to teeth-grinding, other consequences of bruxism can warn you of the condition, including:
- Tooth sensitivity that keeps getting worse – The more you force your teeth against each other, the faster the enamel around them will wear down, especially at their chewing surfaces. Enamel is the main defense for your tooth structure, and as it weakens, you’ll feel your teeth becoming increasingly more sensitive over time.
- Changes in your bite balance – You might not always notice when you’re grinding your teeth together subconsciously. Yet, you may notice when you’re biting and chewing your food that your bite doesn’t seem to feel the same. This can result from changes in your teeth’s chewing surfaces as the friction from bruxism continues to wear them down.
- Your jaw and face muscles feel exhausted – It takes a lot of power to consistently grind your teeth together, and before long, the muscles responsible for biting and chewing can grow exhausted. If you have nighttime bruxism, you may feel as though your jaw and facial muscles have been working overtime all night.
Learn how to treat your bruxism problem
When bruxism develops, it can threaten your teeth and oral health in several significant ways. To learn more about how to protect your smile from bruxism, schedule an appointment by calling Peddicord Family Dentistry in Ankeny, IA, today at (515) 963-3339. We also proudly serve patients of all ages who live in Bondurant, Polk City, Elkhart, Alleman, Cambridge, and all surrounding communities.