Maybe you’ve had an elbow in the ribs in the middle of the night to alert you of your grinding habit – maybe tight, over-stressed facial muscles are reminding you of your daily clenching – or maybe your teeth are showing the signs of ongoing clenching and grinding. There are many signs, symptoms and elbows that clue you in to the destructive and sometimes painful effects of teeth grinding and/or clenching that not only ruins a night’s sleep – but negatively impacts the entire dental system.
Is it Stress or a Bad Bite?
Sometimes referred to as the physical expression of emotional stress – clenching and grinding (bruxism) of teeth can soon become a daily habit regardless of stressful or happy times. There’s no escaping the fact that during moments of acute anxiety some people naturally clench their teeth – exerting tremendous force that can result in fractures and breakage of natural teeth and dentistry. But stress isn’t the only trigger for clenching and grinding – an unhealthy bite that consists of crooked and missing teeth, or jaws that don’t fit together due to size discrepancy and alignment, can also present the perfect environment for constant clenching and grinding.
Why is a Bad Bite a Trigger for Grinding?
Our dentists would like to highlight what happens when a dental bite is imbalanced. Malocclusion, or bad bite, can arise due to a skeletal discrepancy (top jaw is smaller than bottom jaw or further forward etc.), inadequate tooth alignment and arch formation, missing teeth, trauma and ill-fitting dentistry. What the body is trying to create through grinding is bite stability – sometimes resulting in the wear of teeth on one side more than the other and posturing of facial muscles in an attempt to get teeth to fit together. Teenagers who live with bite issues can experience heightened grinding of teeth – and young children who have both baby and adult teeth can go through bouts of grinding while their bite is changing.
Does Grinding Just Damage Teeth?
The habit of clenching and grinding teeth impacts the entire dental system and can negatively affect jawbone, muscles, ligaments and jaw joints. TMJ discomfort has been linked to clenching and grinding, as has gum and bone loss, head and neck pain and facial muscle tension. Seeking help to address the habit of grinding not only protects teeth, but improves and protects a person’s entire dental health.
For more information regarding teeth grinding and potential treatment, contact Centennial Smiles today! We are always welcoming new patients to our clinic 587.353.5060