Many people clench their teeth in certain situations. Maybe you’re stressed. Maybe you’re exerting yourself and find that clenched teeth help you get the most effort. But how do you tell the difference between normal clenching of teeth and destructive bruxism?
Here are some things to watch out for if you want to catch destructive bruxism in its early stages and avoid the worst damage.
Signs Others May Report
You may not be on the lookout for symptoms of bruxism, but sometimes someone will mention a troubling symptom. Don’t dismiss these.
“You grind your teeth at night.” If your loved one reports that you grind your teeth at night, it’s best to pay attention. If your grinding is loud and long enough that it bothers someone sleeping next to you, this is a very destructive habit.
“Your teeth look shorter.” Tooth wear is one of the major consequences of bruxism, and if your tooth wear has progressed to the point that other people have noticed it, then it’s time to talk to a neuromuscular dentist about the habit.
Symptoms You May Notice
Occasional tooth clenching won’t cause many noteworthy symptoms. But if your clenching is serious, there are many symptoms you may notice.
Jaw pain is one of the most common symptoms of excessive clenching. The pain may be in the jaw muscles, from the constant exertion, or it may be in the jaw joint, from the stress put on the joint. You may also experience frequent tension headaches or have earaches, tinnitus, or stuffy feeling ears. These may also indicate a more serious bite problem known as TMJ.
Teeth sensitivity occurs as a result of teeth grinding and clenching. You may find your teeth are sore after an episode of grinding, or your teeth may be sensitive to heat, cold or sweets due to damage. The grinding may expose the denton at the top of the teeth or it may cause fractures in the tooth, so sensitivity can occur anywhere on the tooth.
Vertical tooth lines can appear in your teeth. These are known as “craze lines,” and they’re not inherently serious. But they are cracks in your teeth from the pressure. Left untreated, tooth clenching and grinding can lead to broken teeth.
Frequent chips or cracks are likely due to teeth clenching, grinding, or bite imbalance. Each individual chip or crack may have its own explanation, but when you have many of them close together, it shows there’s a systemic problem that needs attention.
Evidence from Dental Visits
Other complications of your teeth clenching may show up at your dental appointments. If you have these, then it’s time to talk to your dentist about clenching and grinding, or seek out a dentist who is trained to handle clenching and grinding.
Abfractions are damage to your tooth at or near the gumline. Although it’s not at the point where your teeth come together, this is due to teeth clenching. Basically, when you clench your teeth, it causes the tooth to flex, and the enamel can crack and break off where it’s thinnest: the neck of the tooth.
Receding gums can also be caused by teeth clenching. The same process that puts stress on your teeth can also put stress on gums and bone. It can lead to receding gums, and may even cause bone loss around your teeth, causing them to be lost.
Are You Looking for Teeth Clenching Treatment?
If your teeth clenching is causing any of these signs or symptoms, it’s time to get professional treatment. Not all dentists are skilled at treating bite problems such as this. If you are looking for an expert on bite problems in Columbus, OH, neuromuscular dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian can help.
He can start by identifying the cause of the problem and protecting teeth from further damage. Then you can talk about full mouth reconstruction to repair the current damage.
Please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment at Firouzian Dentistry.