If you suffer from bruxism, then you grind your teeth, either consciously or unconsciously. While some people grind their teeth during the day and are aware of their problem, some have sleep bruxism. They grind their teeth at night without realising when they are asleep.
Bruxism can cause a range of physical problems including damage to your teeth and gums. How does grinding your teeth affect your oral health?
1. Bruxism Can Erode Teeth
If you grind your teeth habitually at night, then you put stress on them. Repetitive grinding can wear down your teeth. They might wear down enough to lose some of their height. You might also lose some of your surface enamel.
Wear, tear and enamel erosion can cause some problems. For example, your teeth might become sensitive if they lose their protective enamel coating. You might have to have more fillings than usual to deal with decay that gets into your teeth.
Plus, if your teeth wear down, then they might start to look stubby and misshapen. You might become self-conscious about your smile.
2. Bruxism Can Loosen Teeth
While teeth are strong and stable when they are healthy, excessive grinding can affect their stability. The constant stress of teeth rubbing against each can gradually weaken them. So, your teeth might start to feel looser over time.
3. Bruxism Can Damage Dental Work
If you have existing dental work, then a teeth-grinding habit can be a problem. Fillings, crowns, implants and veneers can all develop problems if they are exposed to constant grinding.
For example, fillings might crack, chip or fall out. Veneers might be pushed off teeth, and crowns and implant teeth might be forced loose. You'll have to have more work done to repair any damage; the damage could return if your grinding habit continues.
4. Bruxism Can Damage Gums
Bruxism doesn't just damage your teeth and dental work, it can also give you gum problems. While your teeth take the actual force when you grind them together, this force spreads to your gums.
If your teeth are put under undue stress or movement, then your gums might become inflamed. They might be sore and bleed regularly. In some cases, your tissues might start to recede in these areas.
If you think that you grind your teeth in your sleep or have signs of bruxism damage, then make an appointment to see your dentist. They can help you reduce damage by fitting a specialist mouthguard to protect your teeth and gums while you sleep. They can also give you advice on ways to stop grinding your teeth in the future.