MOST PEOPLE CLENCH or grind their teeth from time to time. However, if you’re doing so frequently—especially while you’re sleeping—you may be damaging your teeth.
The Harmful Effects
If you grind your teeth at night (also called bruxing), you may already be experiencing the most obvious, immediate effects: namely, unexplained headaches and jaw pain.
Chronic grinding can cause tooth fractures, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. Grinding can also wear down teeth and severely damage fillings and crowns. Left untreated, bruxism can lead to eventual bone loss in your jaw.
Unconscious Habits Can Be Hard To Correct
What’s really frustrating about bruxing is that most people do it while they’re asleep. That means the problem often goes unidentified for a long time.
Do you find yourself waking up with headaches or a sore jaw? Does your loved one complain about these symptoms? If it has been happening for a while, you may actually start seeing worn-down teeth, or gums that are unusually inflamed.
Orthodontic Treatment Can Help
One of the reasons that people grind their teeth at night could be malocclusion (misaligned teeth and jaw). Malocclusion creates extra stress on the jaw as your mouth tries to find balance. Treatment from an orthodontist will adjust your bite so that it fits into the optimal position. If you have a friend or family member experiencing distress from bruxism, share this information with them!
If You’re Grinding Your Teeth While Undergoing Treatment…
As we mentioned, bruxism may be caused, or exacerbated, by your mouth trying to settle into a comfortable balance, so changes from orthodontic treatment can contribute to teeth-grinding. If the problem is severe enough to cause pain, or to affect your braces and other appliances, talk to us about it!
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