For the most part, many of us do it on occasion, and in small doses, grinding your teeth might not become a serious concern. Yet, if it occurs without you even realizing it, such as in your sleep, then the repeated action could prove disastrous for your short- and long-term dental health. To highlight the dangers, we explain the differences between the nervous habit of teeth-grinding and the involuntary condition known as bruxism.
Habit, or Bruxism?
- The clinical name for teeth-grinding is bruxism, but to qualify for the title, your habit must be more than a habit. Bruxism describes the unconscious and involuntary action of your jaw and mouth, and in most cases, it occur more often in sleep than it does while you are awake.
- Although the enamel around your teeth is almost as resilient as diamonds, it can quickly be worn away by the continued friction and pressure generated by bruxism. Besides the noise, which could disturb your partner’s sleep, bruxism can also damage your teeth, and lead to a high risk of dental infections, like cavities.
- Your teeth are not the only things affected by bruxism. If not corrected, then the condition can also place an undue strain on your jaw’s muscles and joints, leading to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. Besides jaw pain, bruxism and TMJ disorder can cause chronic headaches, earaches, muscle soreness in your neck and shoulders, and a host of other forms of discomfort.
- For many patients, we can help alleviate bruxism and prevent extensive dental damage with a custom-designed protective mouthguard, or sleepguard. The plastic appliance fits like a sports mouthguard, but is thinner and more comfortable. By protecting your teeth from each other, the guard can halt the effects of bruxism and allow your jaw to rest more comfortably.
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE DENTISTS:
As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, 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, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.