If the term “bruxism” isn’t familiar, then your first question might be, what is that? Clenching your teeth together on occasion, like when you’re mad, tense, or anxious, doesn’t usually pose a threat to your dental health. When you do it frequently, though, it’s considered a condition, and bruxism can lead to a host of troubles, including extensive damage to your teeth. After learning that it describes the habitual, and often unnoticed, grinding of your teeth, and the consequences that it can generate, your next question should be, do I do that?
Do my teeth make noise at night?
Most patients who exhibit bruxism do so in their sleep, although many grind their teeth during the day, as well. If your sleeping partner can hear your teeth at night, then you may be a habitual bruxer.
Do my teeth feel sensitive?
After a while, the friction and tension from rubbing your teeth together can wear away their protective layer of enamel. When the dentin underneath is exposed, your teeth can become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, sweet foods and beverages, or the pressure when you bite and chew.
Are my teeth worn down, flattened, or chipped?
Remember being told to visit your dentist at least once every six months? Part of the reason is so that Dr. Wright can thoroughly inspect your teeth and gums for signs of trouble. If he notices excessive wear on your teeth, such as flattened chewing surfaces, chipped edges, or cracks, then Dr. Wright might mention the possibility of bruxism, and the steps you should take to protect your smile. Left untreated, tooth wear can lead to potentially disastrous cracks and fractures, and in extreme cases, tooth loss.
Do I frequently wake up with headaches, facial pain, and/or facial muscle soreness?
Aside from tooth damage, bruxism can also place an incredible and undue amount of pressure on your jaw’s joints (TMJs) and muscles. Known as TMJ disorder, damaged or exhausted jaw joints can disturb the trigeminal nerve that passes through your jaws and most of your head, neck, and face. If you’ve spent the night clenching and grinding your teeth against each other, you may wake with headaches and other craniofacial discomfort as a result from the stress.
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 learn more about bruxism and how you can find relief from your symptoms, schedule an appointment by calling our office today at (817) 481-7999.