Are your teeth wearing you down?
Tooth wear is something that you might not be always aware of. It can be as a result of grinding your teeth too much – something that often takes place while you are asleep. You can also grind your teeth while awake and may not know it until someone alerts you to the problem.
Tooth loss may not appear to be serious, especially if it only involves one or two teeth, but once a gap has been formed, the neighboring teeth do not have the normal support they are used to. They may move from their normal position and this can interfere with the your ‘bite’.
This could eventually have an effect on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which is the joint on both sides of the mouth that acts as a hinge which co ordinates the actions of chewing, biting, yawning and talking.
What is the relationship between tooth grinding and tooth wear?
Grinding your teeth excessively is viewed as a dental problem because the action can damage teeth so much that complete repair may be difficult. The teeth may experience severe wear, chipping and even fractures if teeth grinding is able to persist.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is also affected, which means bite correction may be required to repair the damage. Even though teeth grinding can be due to anxiety or stress, because it often takes place during periods of sleep it is more likely to be caused by crooked or missing teeth or an abnormal bite.
How a dentist can help to stop you wearing down your teeth
If you know you grind your teeth now and you know that it is damaging and could cause disruption to the alignment of your TMJ, your dentist may be able to stop this sort of teeth grinding. The way this is done is by making a custom designed splint or mouthpiece which you wear at night. This device creates a barrier so that both the upper and lower teeth are protected.
The mouth guards appear similar to those boxers use and are made from a flexible plastic or rubber material designed to comfortably fit in the mouth. There are also mouth splints available, made out of harder plastic designed to fit exactly over your lower or upper teeth. They are usually worn at night so no one else knows of their presence.
Even though devices fitted by your dentist can be used at night to prevent tooth wear from tooth grinding if you are prone to teeth grinding and it is beginning to damage your teeth there are other factors that could be the cause of teeth grinding so it is wise to have a thorough evaluation to discover what the cause of the problem is.
This is particularly important if your teeth grinding is associated to sleep apnea as the dental device fitted to prevent teeth grinding must be compatible with the symptoms of sleep apnea.
The best way to solve your tooth wear problem
The sooner you seek out an experienced dentist if you start to notice that you are wearing down your teeth or even losing them, the sooner you will get your life back to normal.
Your dentist will be able to assess your needs and design an effective program for repairing any damage done both to your teeth and your TMJ and put you on the path to avoiding this sort of damage in the future.
Find a TMJ Dentist in your area
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