People are complex beings with complex lives. And sometimes, that manifests itself into behaviors that are damaging to our teeth.
Tensions at home or work, stress, bad dreams, and anxiety all can cause people to grind their teeth in their sleep. This grinding, over time, will start to grind the teeth down. Severe cases of grinding can result in tooth loss, breakage, extractions, and dentures.
Understanding the cause of the grinding, and treating it is critical to stopping the unconscious behavior, but there are several things that can be done to help protect the teeth, while this root causes are identified and treated.
- Mouth Guards – Depending on the severity of the grinding, a mouth guard may be a solution. Similar to the guards worn by athletes during sports, a custom-fit guard will protect the teeth while you sleep.
- Botox – Botox is a relatively new solution to teeth-grinding, but can be very effective. Botox works by temporarily paralyzing muscles. A skilled and highly-trained doctor or dentist can administer Botox into the “clenching” muscles of your jaw to stop them for being able to come together forcefully. Treatments last for 3-6 months, at which time the behavior, or the cause may have changed.
- Proper Dental Care – Teeth wear down because they are weak. And weakened teeth wear down faster. Proper brushing and dental care are important so that the teeth remain strong. Regular checkups will ensure the dentist also is monitoring the teeth for fragility or breakage.
- Straightening Misaligned Teeth – The alignment of your teeth is not just a cosmetic concern. Crooked teeth, or those that do not line up properly with other teeth can cause grinding problems, especially when eating. See your dentist to discuss orthodontic options that move the teeth slightly so that they won’t hit each other unnaturally and cause issues.
Ground-down teeth lack the enamel they need to protect them, and are prone to cavity and decay. Keep teeth strong and intact by protecting them from wear, and making lifestyle changes that help you maintain your beautiful smile!