It would seem that the real danger of teeth grinding is that it wears teeth down. With teeth wearing down, the risk for structural damage such as cracking or breaking increases. In fact, as your Mansfield TX dentists, Dr. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris, note, it is not uncommon for untreated teeth grinding to result in the need for multiple dental crowns as tooth after tooth succumbs to the nightly wear of bruxism and breaks. But what if structural damage was not the full extent of bruxism’s threat? What if bruxism also were to increase the likelihood of tooth decay? Unfortunately, bruxism does increase the risk of tooth decay, which is why it is important to keep an eye out for any signs that may point toward this very damaging habit.
Bruxism and Tooth Decay
You are probably aware that the enamel that coats your teeth is the hardest substance in your body. Your teeth are thus well-equipped to stand up to attack from bacteria so long as that attack is not a prolonged one. However, when enamel is lost, the layer beneath it, called dentin, is exposed. As dentin is much softer than enamel, the defense it provides against harmful oral bacteria is much less robust than the defense provided by enamel. You can, therefore, see why teeth grinding, which forces teeth to slide against one another, can increase the risk of tooth decay. As teeth slide against one another, they weaken and lose enamel, and the resulting enamel loss weakens teeth’s defenses against harmful oral bacteria. With less enamel, teeth can decay rapidly, resulting in the need for dental fillings or even root canal therapy.
Teeth Grinding Treatment in Mansfield TX
When it comes to treating bruxism, your Mansfield TX dentists, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris, will approach your treatment in a few different ways. In addition to providing their patients with sleep guards (a kind of mouth guard designed to be worn at night), your Mansfield TX dentists will also examine your mouth and jaw and discuss your symptoms with you to ensure that you are not suffering from a TMJ disorder, a common result of bruxism. If you are, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris may recommend an oral splint to reposition your jaw to alleviate strain on your jaw joints. They may also suggest yoga or stress management techniques as bruxism and TMJ disorders have both been connected to stress and anxiety.