Thanks to the protective layer of enamel that surrounds the teeth, the teeth can sustain the daily forces of biting and chewing. However, the teeth are not meant to hold up under excessive wear, tear, and pressure. Teeth grinding is one dental habit that places too much force on the teeth. Individuals who clench or grind the teeth are far more likely to suffer from dental damage.
Restorative dentistry treatments can rebuild and strengthen teeth weakened by teeth grinding, but it is best to protect the teeth from the damaging effects of teeth grinding so that the natural teeth can be preserved. Dr. Van is happy to offer services to help patients avoid teeth grinding and dental damage, as well as provide our Mountain View, CA patients with treatments to restore the strength of teeth that have already been damaged.
Risks of Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding is one of the most damaging dental habits. Unfortunately, teeth grinding is hard to control because many patients don’t realize they are doing it until the signs of damage have already developed. Teeth grinding and clenching most typically occur while a patient sleeps. During this time, patients may bite down tensely, or rub the top and bottom teeth back and forth against one another. Both habits put extreme force and pressure on the teeth. If this habit is repeatedly practiced over time, the teeth and mouth are likely to suffer. Below are some of the most common damages of teeth grinding:
- Abfraction: Abfraction is a loss of healthy tooth structure by the base of the teeth, at the gum line. This loss is not caused by decay, but rather by force, such as that sustained by teeth grinding.
- Attrition: Attrition is a loss of or weakening of tooth structure from the biting surface of the teeth. As with abfraction, this type of loss is specifically associated with excessive pressure, such as that from teeth grinding.
- Chips, cracks, and fractures: Because teeth grinding damages enamel and weakens the teeth, chips, cracks, and fractures are far more common for individuals who grind the teeth.
- Gum recession: Teeth grinding causes damage to more than the teeth themselves. Gum recession is another risk of teeth grinding. When the teeth pull away from the base of the teeth, pockets of space can form at the gum line. This increases the risk of a number of oral health problems, including root canal infection and tooth loss.
- TMJ disorder: Temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, disorder, refers to a stiffness in the joints controlling the movement of the jaw, and has also been linked to teeth grinding. This condition can cause a number of uncomfortable side effects, including facial pain and lockjaw.
Treating Teeth Grinding
When dental damage indicates that a patient is grinding their teeth, it is important to offer treatment to prevent the habit and repair the damage that has already occurred. Dr. Van addresses both of these issues at his dental practice. Patients can receive a custom mouth guard to wear over the teeth to prevent grinding and clenching while a patient sleeps. Dr. Van also offers a full range of restorative dentistry treatments that can repair dental damage and restore the strength and structure of the teeth. Dr. Van is happy to discuss these treatment options in further detail with those patients who are in need of such services.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are concerned that you may be clenching or grinding your teeth, it is important to seek professional dental care. Dr. Van will be happy to look for signs of dental damage and offer effective dental solutions. To learn more about our comprehensive range of dental services, schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.