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5 Damaging Health Effects Caused by Teeth Grinding

Woman checking her teeth in the bathroom mirror

Bruxism is a medical condition in which patients grind or clench their teeth while asleep or awake. Many individuals who struggle with this issue often don’t even realize they are even doing it. The reality is that most people clench their teeth occasionally when stressed or anxious. However, more severe or frequent teeth grinding can cause tooth or jawbone damage. During a dental exam at Beacon Dental Health, our dental experts will check for signs of bruxism and provide helpful tips or treatment options to reduce the risk of teeth grinding symptoms. Read on to learn more about this oral health concern, or schedule a dental exam with one of our doctors.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism can occur while sleeping or awake, and, in some cases, both. The act of grinding, gnashing, or clenching teeth during the day or at night, also known as bruxism, is an oral health issue that affects many people. Sometimes, you may not realize you are doing it until damage has occurred to your jaw or teeth. Jaw pain, headaches, tooth sensitivity, tight jaw muscles, and unexplained chips or cracks in tooth enamel are all possible teeth grinding symptoms. The most prominent signs of bruxism are:

  • Tooth enamel erosion
  • Worn tooth restorations
  • Painful discomfort in the jawbone, neck, or shoulder area
  • Gum recession

Five adverse side effects of bruxism

At Beacon Dental Health, our dental experts will be on the lookout for signs of bruxism, and upon diagnosing, will determine the best course of treatment. Sleep-related bruxism is quite common and occurs when the airway becomes constricted, and the jawbone muscles mimic a chewing motion to allow the airway to reopen. Aside from disrupting your partner’s restful sleep, severe or frequent teeth grinding can lead to other serious side effects that can hinder your overall oral health.

  1. Tooth damage
    Enamel erosion is one of the first signs of bruxism. Frequent clenching and grinding wear down tooth surfaces and enamel, leading to increased tooth sensitivity and height loss. Additionally, the contact pressure can chip, fracture, loosen, or crack teeth. It can also damage crowns, bridges, and other tooth restorations.
  2. Gum recession
    One of the leading causes of gum recession is bruxism. Clenching or grinding causes teeth to loosen or shift, creating pockets where bacteria can reside and causing the infected gum tissue to pull away.
  3. Jaw disorders
    The act of grinding or clenching can affect the muscles and joints that make up the jaw, causing temporomandibular disorders (TMD), more commonly known as TMJ. These jaw disorders affect the functionality of a person chewing, biting, or talking, even causing severe facial, neck, and shoulder pain.
  4. Pain
    Grinding your teeth puts constant pressure on the surrounding muscles and jaw joints. Common teeth grinding symptoms are earaches, jaw stiffness, mouth pain, and headaches.
  5. Migraines
    Bruxism can cause tension headaches or painful migraines from the constant pressure and stress placed on the face and jaw muscles.

What are teeth grinding treatment options?

We will evaluate your mouth and jawbone structure during a comprehensive dental exam to determine the right course of action to treat signs of bruxism. Our experts will provide and manage the entire treatment course if you qualify for orthodontic care to correct bite misalignment causing teeth grinding. Occlusal adjustments, along with warm compresses and jaw exercises, can typically help minimize any discomfort associated with teeth grinding symptoms. Our team will take oral impressions to create a custom-made night mouth guard to be worn comfortably while you sleep if you need an oral appliance. Beacon Dental Health patients will also be instructed on properly caring for their grinding mouth guard to get the most out of this dental appliance.

If you are concerned about signs of bruxism or looking for a custom-made night mouth guard to stop grinding your teeth while sleeping, contact our dental practice at Beacon Dental Health. We can assist you in scheduling a consultation with one of our dental experts at Beacon Dental Health and get your oral health back on track.

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