So you’ve finally stopped grinding your teeth…problem solved?

No! Save yourself further pain – fix the damage!

It’s not enough to just stop grinding your teeth. If you don’t bother addressing the damage that bruxism has caused, you could end up with severe problems in the future. Take for instance, Amanda, who had suffered with bruxism for years. She finally sought help and got a mouth guard. The grinding stopped, but her troubles were far from over. She soon began to complain about intense pain and toothaches on the left lower side of her jaw. When she came in to be examined, I confirmed that she had fractured two of her molars.

Over time, the extreme pressure created by grinding can cause teeth to fracture, leading to toothaches and making teeth vulnerable to infection and decay. Sometimes, as in Amanda’s case, these fractures can be very small and hardly noticeable. That’s why Amanda didn’t see and visible signs of damage. She believed her problems with bruxism were over after the grinding stopped, but the damage was already done. She needed immediate dental restorations.

Why is it important to fix grinding damage immediately?

If you had a flat tire on your car, you wouldn’t continue driving that car until you got a new tire. Running on a flat tire risks damaging the car further, and could cost more to repair in the long run. The same goes for your teeth. If there is a problem, it needs to be addressed immediately. Bruxism is known to
cause loose or fractured teeth. Not only is it painful to chew with a fractured tooth, but it is dangerous.

With your tooth exposed, you could damage more of the dental structure, or even the nerves beneath.

Not to mention that fractures almost always develop cavities and decay if left untreated.

How do you fix grinding damage?

The first thing to do is to have a dentist examine your teeth. Like Amanda, you may not be able to identify the real problem, but a dentist will. Problems caused by grinding can range from a flattened biting surface or chips in the tooth, to fractured teeth that need to be removed and replaced. Once we have identified the problem and the severity of the damage, there are a number of options available for correction:

  • Crowns, caps, and bondings can be used to fix chips
  • Dental implants, bridges or dentures can be used to replace severely damaged teeth
  • A root canal could be necessary if the cracked tooth has been infected

How can you prevent grinding in the future?

The best plan of action is to keep using your mouth guard, continue relaxation exercises, and make sure you maintain a healthy set of teeth. Uncomfortable problems like crooked, misaligned, cracked, or chipped teeth are often the cause of grinding in the first place. Make sure you correct all of these problems to get your smile in tip-top shape, and you will be far less likely to experience grinding in the future. If you deal with it now, you could save yourself a lot of pain and money in the future!

Now that you have heard all the details about grinding and bruxism you will be on the lookout for signs and symptoms in the future. Do not hesitate to click here to schedule a free consultation if you suspect that bruxism is causing problems for your teeth.

Next week we will be changing topics and discussing dental phobia, a serious problem that many children and adults deal with throughout their lives. We’ll talk about how you can identify signs of dental phobia and what we can do to help.

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