Bruxism and the Risk of Dental Damage

Sep 27, 2016 @ 11:54 AM — by Sharon B. Mateja, D.D.S.

A woman holding her hand to her face in painBruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding, can lead to severe dental damage if left untreated. Bruxism places excessive force and strain on the teeth, increasing the risk of enamel wear, dental fractures, and other serious dental problems. Restorative dentistry treatments are available to repair the damage caused by teeth grinding and restore the smile's health and beauty. To learn more about your treatment options for bruxism and dental damage, schedule a consultation with Rancho Cucamonga, CA dentists Sharon B. Mateja and Brenda Kuekels.

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism has many potential causes. When teeth grinding occurs on a chronic, long-term basis, it may be caused by issues with dental alignment, too much caffeine consumption, or certain medications. Stress and anxiety can also cause teeth grinding or teeth clenching. 

The Dangers of Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is dangerous to oral health and, if left untreated, can lead to serious dental damage. Treating bruxism early is key to protecting oral health and preventing damage, such as:

  • Enamel wear: The friction from teeth grinding can quickly wear down the protective enamel layer of the teeth, leaving the teeth vulnerable to tooth decay.
  • Teeth may become worn down: The friction from bruxism won't stop at enamel wear and can eventually wear the teeth down to small nubs if treatment is not sought.
  • Gum recession: Teeth grinding can lead to gum recession, a condition in which the gums pull away from the teeth. Gum recession exposes vulnerable areas of the teeth to bacteria and acid, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
  • Loose teeth: The constant strain of grinding the teeth back and forth can cause the teeth to loosen within their sockets.
  • Dental fractures: Dental fractures may occur as a result of excessive pressure placed on the teeth.
  • Tooth decay: Teeth grinding increases the risk of tooth decay when enamel wear, gum recession, or dental fractures are present.
  • Tooth loss: In severe cases, tooth loss can occur as a result of teeth grinding.

Treating Teeth Grinding and Restoring Dental Health

Most teeth grinding occurs at night, during sleep. Many may not realize they suffer from bruxism until dental damage is apparent. Although seeking treatment before damage occurs is best for your oral health, it's not always possible. Fortunately, there are treatment options for restoring dental health and preventing further damage from bruxism, including:

  • Mouth guards: Custom-made mouth guards, bite splints, or occlusal splints, are highly effective at protecting the teeth from the damage of bruxism.
  • Orthodontics: When alignment issues cause bruxism, orthodontic treatment can correct misaligned teeth and treat teeth grinding.
  • Stress and anxiety relief: Teeth grinding caused by stress or anxiety may be relieved by practicing stress-reducing activities, like yoga, meditation, reading, or walking.
  • Dental restoration: Dental damage caused by bruxism may be repaired with a variety of restorative treatments, like dental crowns, dental bonding, or porcelain veneers. 

Which Treatments Are Right for You?

Don't let bruxism go untreated. To find out which treatments are right for you, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mateja or Dr. Kuekels today.

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