Many people are unaware of the fact that they grind their teeth. Bruxism (teeth grinding) has the unfortunate characteristic of being a largely unconscious habit. Accordingly, it tends to occur most often during sleep. This regrettable trait makes bruxism very dangerous as teeth can suffer serious strain, losing much of their structural integrity before bruxism is identified. In fact, some patients remain unaware of their tendency to grind their teeth until one or more of them break.
Because bruxism has the capability of causing significant structural damage to teeth, patients should be aware of the symptoms that may indicate bruxism. These include tooth sensitivity (especially in the mornings), jaw pain, and a clicking or popping jaw. Your Frisco TX dentist, Dr. Brenda Jennings, can also examine your teeth during regular checkups for the signs of wear left by bruxism. Should she discover any symptoms of bruxism, she can intervene quickly by recommending treatment.
In order to treat bruxism, Dr. Jennings will typically recommend an oral appliance called a nightguard. Patients place the nightguard over their teeth before going to sleep and wear the device during the night. The nightguard prevents teeth from rubbing against one another, thereby preventing them from suffering any further damage. Nightguards are very similar to athletic mouthguards, although they are made out of a harder material and are sleeker than traditional athletic mouthguards for greater patient comfort.
Dangers of Bruxism
Receiving treatment for bruxism is very important. If teeth grinding remains undiscovered or if you neglect to receive treatment, the condition of your teeth can deteriorate very rapidly. The constant scraping of teeth against one another will result in enamel loss over time. The loss of enamel weakens teeth significantly. They will have less strength to withstand the pressure of biting and chewing, a weakness which may eventually result in cracking or breaking. Enamel loss also renders teeth vulnerable to attack from bacteria as their under layers of dentin become exposed. Dentin is porous and significantly softer than enamel. As a result dentin tends to decay much faster than enamel, making tooth decay a significant threat for people who grind their teeth.