Teeth Grinding – The Dangers and Solutions
Bruxism is a significant cause of damage to teeth.
From time to time, most of us probably grind our teeth; when a large tax bill arrives or the next door neighbour’s dog won’t stop barking perhaps. ‘One off’ occasions like this though are not overly likely to cause any damage to our teeth. What is more likely is the type of teeth grinding that we are not even conscious of. Teeth grinding that is caused by stress often occurs during sleep, and therefore we have no control over it and can’t simply snap out of it. Many of us will not even be aware that we do this, but through doing so, significant damage can be done to our teeth.
At the Confidental Clinic in Clapham Junction, we often notice signs of uneven wear on patient’s teeth whilst doing our regular oral examinations. In many cases, this is caused by teeth grinding and results in the enamel being damaged.
Where enamel damage has occurred, the softer inner part, the dentin, becomes increasingly vulnerable to dental decay which may also cause toothache. When this occurs, the tooth needs to be restored, usually with a dental filling, and, whilst natural coloured tooth fillings are available, it is much better to prevent this in the first place. More rare, but it does happen, is when a bruxism sufferer grinds their teeth so hard that the teeth actually break. Depending on the severity, a dental crown may be sufficient, but, if there is too much damage, the tooth may need to be extracted and possibly replaced with a dental implant.
Solutions to teeth grinding
There is no simple way to stop teeth grinding. Because it happens in our subconscious mind whilst we sleep, we can’t just stop. It is now generally thought that stress is a major factor in bruxism, and, therefore, reducing our stress levels is likely to help. If the cause is obvious, such as a bad work situation, a lifestyle change may be required. For less obvious causes of stress though, relaxation techniques may help.
Although it is not an ideal long term solution to bruxism, dentists can at least help to prevent damage being done to your teeth whilst you address the causes of the stress. By fitting a special mouth guard, we can prevent the teeth from grinding together during sleep, and thereby help to protect them.
As well as restoring damaged teeth through general dental care; some cosmetic dental treatments such as dental veneers can be used, depending on the type of wear that the teeth have suffered. Where surface damage to the front of the teeth has occurred, dental veneers are an excellent solution to restore the appearance of your teeth. However, remedial dental treatments such as this may not be viable until the level of tooth grinding has lessened to a point where the restorations would not be damaged.
If you are a tooth grinder and live in Clapham Junction or Battersea, don’t wait until your teeth break. Please contact the Confidental Clinic to see what we can do to help. Call us today on 020 7801 9060.