Are your teeth getting shorter?
When you smile, have you noticed that you show less teeth?
Do the edges of your lower front teeth appear chipped and worn?
If answer to any of these questions is YES, maybe you are grinding your teeth and causing excessive wear. This is known as Bruxism.
How Do Teeth Get Worn Down?
Unfortunately our teeth do wear away from use as we age but much of the destruction we see in our teeth is self-induced. Our teeth are damaged and wear for several major reasons. The most common cause of teeth wear is clenching or grinding, known as Bruxism
Other reasons your teeth might appear worn are:
- Brushing too hard or using hard bristles.
- Other habits, like biting and chewing on hard objects (like pens, fingernails, or ice)
- Erosion from long-term exposure to acidic substances (like soda, energy drinks, juice, coffee, etc.) or from acid reflux
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a condition marked by repetitively clenching and grinding your teeth together. However, this can happen during the day when you’re concentrating too hard on a task, or faced with a stressful situation or at night, which often occur during deep sleep, so it can be harder for you to identify and control. Clenching and grinding often appears to be a response to stress and anxiety. Another cause for excessive wear is an incorrect biting pattern due to a mal-align or missing teeth that no longer bite together properly and wear unevenly.
What happens in Bruxism?
Tooth damage is one of the most obvious consequences of teeth grinding. It damages the enamel, which is the outer protective layer that coats each tooth.
Enamel, once damaged or destroyed, cannot repair itself because it has no living cells.
Most common symptoms
- Cracks or chips in teeth
- Stress fractures or craze lines in the teeth
- Teeth starts looking unusually jagged or unusually smooth
- Shorter teeth
- Tooth sensitivity or pain (especially with hot or cold foods)
- Yellowing of teeth, due to worn enamel
- Problems with dental restorations like crowns or fillings.
- A bite that seems to change
Put simply, any kind of tooth damage caused by teeth grinding puts you at risk of tooth decay and erosion, gum and periodontal disease. In some cases, extensive tooth restoration may be necessary.
Another important consideration of tooth loss is uneven bite. Our teeth work together as a system, when few teeth become worn, in order to achieve equilibrium it can cause even more grinding and clenching while you sleep, which only makes the wear worse.
A bad bite can also lead to jaw popping, headaches, and facial and neck muscle pain.
Excessive teeth grinding can also cause clicking in the jaw and chronic jaw pain, which then makes everyday tasks like talking, chewing, swallowing and biting unbearably painful.
When the teeth wears down excessively, it can actually make the lower half of your face appears shorter, especially when your mouth is closed.
Night guard: Wearing a night guard is one of the best ways to treat teeth grinding. It creates a barrier, so even though the grinding is probably still going to happen, at least your teeth will be protected.
Dental Crowns and Other Restorations: If you already have more significant loss of tooth structure due to attrition, your dentist may recommend attempting to replace that lost tooth structure, with options like bonded composite restorations, crowns, or porcelain veneers to cover and protect worn teeth and rebuild the worn teeth back up to their natural, healthy form.
We at Pearl Dental Clinic – Dubai believe that everyone can have a healthy smile for life and with our help it’s easier than you think!
We look forward in welcoming you.