The Problem with Grinding your Teeth according to Dentists in Austin, TX
There are a variety of ways in which people channel stress. Some people use an emotional outlet, such as crying or punching an inanimate object. Others channel it through a hobby like painting or working out. However, there are people who outright repress their emotional state for the sake of keeping their world harmonious. In turn, that repression can turn into all kinds of physical and emotional damage for the person who is keeping their mouth shut. That kind of damage can come in the forms of self-harm both voluntary or involuntary. Which leads to something that patients for Dentists in Austin, TX struggle with. Tooth Grinding.
What is Tooth Grinding?
Tooth grinding or bruxism is a condition that happens often on a subconscious level. Usually, when someone is anxious or asleep, there is a chance that someone who is suffering from something like this has done this as a long term habit. People who often have a problem with tooth grinding usually already suffer from some sort of sleep disorder or abnormal or crooked teeth. But what can be so harmful about it?
Patients that typically grind their teeth in their sleep either suffer from chronic anxiety, discomfort from maligned teeth or jaws, or have an addiction to substances like cigarettes and alcohol. Children often grind their teeth in their sleep because they grow at a rapid rate. While it is important to take care of baby teeth with healthy oral practices, their jaws and teeth are growing too rapidly to cause any major damage. As long as it ends around adolescence, there should be no cause for alarm.
Thankfully, grinding teeth short term will not do too much damage to your teeth and jaw. At worst, you will just get a sore jaw and a dull headache. However, if you are constantly grinding your teeth, especially on a daily basis, the effects of the condition can get far worse than anticipated.
The Effects of Long Term Tooth Grinding
When people grind their teeth for long periods of time, they start to wear down. While the tops of our teeth are certainly hard, thanks to the calcification process of our saliva, they are not invincible. Especially since both sets of teeth grinding together are made of the same materials.
Consistent grinding on teeth is enough to wear down things like the crown and the enamel. The grinding process can loosen teeth thanks to the blunt force trauma of the repetitive motion. Also, there is the possibility of grinding exposing the inner nerves of the teeth, as well as the blood supply that is connected to the root system. If they have yet to fall off or crack, they are worn down to unusable nubs. There are even extreme cases where constant grinding can even change the mouth shape and jaw of the sufferer.
All dentists discourage the practice of bruxism simply because it will always cause damage to teeth.
So, what can they do to help keep it from happening?
Treatment for Tooth Grinding
Before any treatment is recommended, the dentist and doctors that are trying to diagnose the problem first need to rule out if the bruxism is not caused by an airway issue during sleep. If there are no signs of sleep apnea or grinding behavior because of airway issues, then a dentist will most likely treat the grinding by offering a mouth guard for the night.
Usually, the mouth guard is enough to stop the grinding motion, but if the grinding is still becoming a habit, then there may be other treatments for issues that need addressing. These treatments vary from case to case and include:
- dietary changes
- postural modifications
- emotional therapy
- medications, injections
- tooth adjustments
- dental work
There are also some practices that might make it easier for patients to relax their jaw for the night. Sometimes all it takes is a decrease in stimulants like caffeine or a muscle relaxant before bed. So, the act of teeth grinding might just be a symptom of a bigger problem, than the main issue. Whatever the case may be, if you start to see them
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