Protecting your smile from damage over time takes a lot more than daily dental care and professional cleanings. It’s vital that you assess your habits, and minimize any that could lead to dental damage and decay.
One chronic habit that can really wreak havoc on your smile is dental grinding (also called bruxism). If you regularly grind or clench your teeth, you could be destabilizing your entire smile, and putting your teeth at risk for further damage. Our Cheney dentists have seen first-hand just how harmful bruxism this can be.
When you grind or clench your teeth, you put an enormous amount of pressure on your dental enamel. This contact can cause micro-cracks in your enamel; these small spots of weakness can widen over time, and can also become prime spots for bacteria accumulation.
Additionally, bruxism can cause TMJ damage. Your TMJs (temporomandibular joints) are the joints on either side of your head that connect your lower jaw to your skull. Grinding and clenching often causes TMJs to become fatigued, inflamed, and irritated. You may notice that your jaw feels stiff and sore, or that your joints make clicking/popping noises when you chew. TMJ problems can even make it impossible for patients to fully open their mouths—the jaw “locks” in place when he or she tries to take a big bite, for example.
The key to dealing with bruxism is to understand what is causing the chronic dental grinding. If it’s related to stress, for example, our team may recommend that you incorporate some stress-reduction measures into your daily routine. If you’re grinding due to poorly aligned bite surfaces, our Cheney dentist may use orthodontics, dental bonding, or restorations to bring your smile into balance.
The bruxism treatment process begins with an in-depth personal evaluation. Feel free to reach out to our Cheney dentists by phone, or through our Contact Us page, in order to get started!