Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is often viewed as a harmless, though annoying, habit. Some people develop bruxism from an inability to deal with stress or anxiety.
However, teeth grinding can literally transform your bite relationship and worse, severely damage your teeth and jaws over long periods of time.
Teeth grinding can cause abrasion to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. This abnormal wear and tear will prematurely age and loosen your teeth, and open them to problems such as hypersensitivity (from the small cracks that form, exposing your dentin.) Bruxism can also lead to chronic jaw and facial pain, as well as headaches.
If no one has told you that you grind your teeth, here are a few clues that you may suffer from bruxism:
- Your jaw is often sore, or you hear popping sounds when you open and close your mouth.
- Your teeth look abnormally short or worn down.
- You notice small dents, called scalloping, on the side of your tongue.
Bruxism can also be a sign of a deeper problem, Obstructive Sleep Apnea( OSA). Although there is no scientifically proven direct link between bruxism and OSA, there is substantial anecdotal evidence that OSA leads to nighttime bruxism. So, do not ignore worn or fractured teeth and restorations. Ask Dr. Levine or Dr. Camacho to discuss with you if you present with signs of bruxism.