Teeth-Grinding–Yes, It’s a Problem

Bruxism, or the habit of constantly grinding your teeth together, is more common than many people suspect, and more dangerous than some bruxers (people who grind their teeth) realize. When Dr. Wright examines your mouth during your routine dental checkup, one of the things he searches for is signs of damage that can indicate a teeth-grinding habit. If discovered, such signs could become serious issues if the habit is allowed to continue. Luckily, bruxism is highly treatable once you know you have it, but you may need the expertise of your Southlake family dentist to stop it.

Why is it Dangerous?

Stress and anxiety are among the most common reasons for excessive teeth grinding. Like stress, bruxism isn’t necessarily a threat in small and not-too persistent doses. When you’re tense, scared, or angry, you may clench your jaw, along with all of your body’s muscles, until the feeling passes. Over time, the consistent friction and pressure of bruxism can damage them, or exhaust the joints and muscles that drive your grinding teeth.

How to Tell if You’re a Bruxer

A significant hitch in bruxism detection is that most patients grind and clench their teeth at night, while they’re asleep. If it happens during the day, you can consciously stop yourself, or employ tricks like placing the tip of your tongue between your upper and lower front teeth. Dr. Wright can notice the usual suspects while examining your smile, such as excessively worn teeth and characteristic tooth cracks, chips, and breaks, and prescribe a solution to address the root of the problem. A bruxism appliance, which is similar to a sports mouthguard, can help protect your teeth from each other while you sleep at night, preventing dental damage from teeth rubbing together.

Why You Can’t Just Stop

Aside from the fact that most bruxers grind in their sleep, the condition is often caused by a dental issue that must be resolved before your jaw can relax. TMJ disorder, a dysfunction involving damaged, inflamed, or misaligned jaw joints, can cause your jaw to spasm and force your teeth against each other. If your bite is imbalanced because your teeth are crooked, then straightening them with orthodontic treatment may be your avenue of relief.

About Your Southlake Dentists:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.