Grinding and clenching…. sound like the newest dance craze? Unfortunately, these two oral habits are responsible for the highest amount of tooth loss throughout life. What’s more, these words are often commonly associated with the three most dreaded letters in dentistry, “TMJ”.
Grinding is usually associated with sleep time. While our bodies shut down and refresh, we routinely dream. As you might imagine, some of these dreams can be quite stressful. Grinding involves squeezing the mouth muscles like you are biting into food and then sliding the teeth from side to side. Often very loud and obvious to those who are awake, this process causes premature wear and breakage of teeth that are touching. Jaw muscle and joint stress from this action can also lead to pain and loud joint noises. Although short periods of grinding are generally harmless, longer periods can lead to loss of the outside and inside layer of tooth structure, breakage of previous restorations, as well as jaw pain.
Clenching commonly occurs during waking hours. Described as strong biting without food in the mouth, the habit can also lead to the above symptoms. If done during daytime hours, this falls under conscious behavior and is easier to control.
Treatment for both includes focusing on both the cause and result. Night time grinding is generally caused by unique signals from the brain and is difficult to fully control. Stress can be a contributing factor, so stress relief treatments are important. Destructive biting forces on your teeth can be five times the biting forces when awake, so it’s important to limit the damage. A Prosthodontist plays a large role in helping to protect your teeth from these habits. Worn teeth sometimes need to be restored and “bite guard” appliances can be made to protect the remaining tooth structure during susceptible times. This can help save teeth from needing more extensive restorations, and even tooth loss. It’s important to be professionally evaluated as extensive tooth wear can occur without any pain or other symptoms.
While some people think seeing a Specialist will be more costly compared to a general dentist, it’s affordable to see a Prosthodontist. All fees for treatment with Dr. Haas at Prosthodontic Dental Associates are calculated to be fair and affordable, consistent with the skills and attention to detail that a Specialist provides. Payment plans and 0% financing are available to help make the finest treatments available to everyone. It takes time and skill to make your mouth as close to perfect as nature intended.
We are confident you will be very happy with the result – a new healthy smile.
Contact Dr. Ronald Haas at Prosthodontic Dental Associates to consult with a Prosthodontist who is a specialist in replacing and restoring teeth so you can feel healthy again and smile with confidence. Click below to schedule an appointment.