Grinding your teeth for a second every once in a blue moon isn’t always a cause for concern. After all, your teeth are pretty tough (they’re the strongest parts of your body) and should be able to take a little bit of extra pressure now and then. However, when you constantly grind your teeth together – a condition known as bruxism – you may be doing a lot more harm than you realize. If you do it unconsciously, especially at night, then bruxism can pose several problems for your oral health, and you should seek treatment as soon as possible from your dentist.
Your teeth may be the strongest parts of your body, but they are not indestructible. They’re meant to effectively bite, tear, grind, and pulverize your food so you can digest it easily. Without food between them to blunt the force, your jaws can exert a tremendous amount of pressure, and eventually, your teeth will begin to show signs that the stress is becoming too much to bear.
One of the telltale signs of bruxism is excessively worn chewing surfaces on your teeth. Normally, your teeth should meet each other squarely when you bite, with the upper teeth slightly protruding in front of the lower ones. When bruxism wears down your teeth’s chewing surfaces, the dynamic of your bite change. The imbalance can force your jaw to compensate when you bite and chew, placing additional stress on your jaw’s joints and muscles, as well as your teeth.
If left untreated, worn teeth become weaker and more susceptible to damage, like cracks, fractures, and breaks. Unfortunately, worn and damaged teeth don’t heal themselves; you’ll need one or more restorations to repair and support your teeth. By treating bruxism early, you can avoid the need for extensive restorations, as well as the risk of damaging any dental work that you may already have in place.