Signs of Tooth Grinding to Be Aware Of
By Ann Sielicki on July 14, 2020
Teeth grinding (bruxism) and teeth clenching are complicated habits. They put teeth at significant risk of damage, yet many people who grind or clench are not aware of it because they do it while they sleep.
It is upsetting to think that your teeth could be suffering without you even knowing it. However, according to Dr. Ann Sielicki of Sonoran Dental Design, if you pay close attention to how your mouth looks and feels, you might uncover certain clues that suggest you grind or clench.
Why Teeth Grinding Is Harmful
Grinding or clenching subjects your teeth to enormous amounts of force — more than 100 times the force you use to bite or chew food. This has a deleterious effect on the integrity and health of your teeth.
Excessive grinding or clenching forces cause the tooth enamel, or the hard, outermost layer of tooth structure, to wear away. As enamel wears way, it exposes dentin, which is softer, yellower and more vulnerable than enamel. Grinding or clenching can lead to tooth fractures, loose teeth or even tooth loss; it can also damage restorations such as crowns or bridges. And, teeth grinding or clenching puts stress on your jaw joint and muscles and can cause or contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Clues That Suggest You Grind or Clench At Night
Morning jaw pain or fatigue. If your jaw joint feels tired or sore when you wake up, it is a telltale sign you may be grinding or clenching all night long or in short, intense bursts.
Morning headaches or earaches. Waking up with pounding headaches or earaches is another indication you may grind or clench at night.
Clicking or popping in the jaw joint. Audible clicking or popping when opening your jaw can suggest your jaw joint is suffering from tooth grinding or clenching.
Your teeth appear shorter or flatter than normal teeth. Long-term grinding or clenching can cause your teeth to look shorter or flatter than they used to. If the grinding or clenching is severe, you may even have fractured or loose teeth.
Sensitive teeth. Yet another possible sign of grinding or clenching is teeth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages.
If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Sielicki as soon as possible. She will evaluate your mouth to look for signs of grinding or clenching. If you have damaged teeth or restorations, Dr. Sielicki can discuss options to repair them. She can also fit you for a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth from the forces of grinding or clenching, and talk to you about other lifestyle changes to reduce these harmful habits.
If Dr. Sielicki suspects your grinding or clenching is related to a sleep disorder, she may recommend you see a sleep medicine specialist.
To request an appointment with Dr. Sielicki, please contact us today.
“Dr. Sielicki and her staff are professional and I immediately felt comfortable. My teeth look fantastic. I could not be more pleased with the outcome.” Emily