Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism. Countless individuals bruxate. While it is extremely common, it is NOT normal. In fact, it is a very serious condition which is often undetectable to most sufferers. Bruxism can lead to many complications if it goes unchecked.
The Consequences of Bruxism
Bruxism can cause all of the following problems:
- Premature wear and tear of the tooth enamel
- Broken teeth
- Gum recession
- Aching jaw muscles
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)
Correcting the oral health damage brought about by bruxism can be complex, time-consuming, and costly. It is much better to address teeth grinding and clenching as early as possible in order to protect the long-term well-being of the teeth and gums.
The Problem Bruxism
Since bruxing usually occurs during sleep, you cannot simply willpower it away! Many people awaken with sore teeth and jaw muscles, but are still unaware that they are grinding their teeth. Many also believe that bruxing is due to stress. This is actually a myth! Stress does not cause bruxing.
One reason people grind their teeth is because their lower jaw is usually too far back (retruded). When our lower jaw is retruded, we cannot get our back teeth together evenly. In an effort to get our teeth to evenly come together, we subconsciously push our jaw forward in order to make our bite comfortable. This often results in the majority of wear and tear on the front teeth. Our bodies are trying to heal ourselves, by adjusting our own teeth in the most comfortable physiologic position.
In dental school, aspiring dentists learn about the mechanical relationship between teeth. A physiologic dentist has undergone advanced training that goes much further than that. They understand the complex relationship between the teeth, the jaw, and the surrounding muscles. They can pinpoint any anatomical abnormalities, such as occlusion (bite) problems that may be causing your bruxism. Armed with that information, they can recommend a treatment to address both the root of the problem and its symptoms.
Depending on the specifics of your situation, Dr. Bryce might recommend that you use an orthotic to balance your bite or that undergo another type of therapy.
About the Author
Dr Bryce is a Master of Physiologic Dentistry at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. He is a Charter member of The International Association of Physiologic Aesthetics. To learn more about Dr. Bryce or to schedule a consultation, contact our team at 571-434-8000.