Some of the most common dental health concerns, like tooth decay and gum disease, typically develop from the accumulation of oral bacteria. That’s why sticking to a good hygiene routine every day is essential to keeping your smile healthy. However, bruxism (or chronic teeth-grinding) doesn’t develop from oral bacteria or poor dental hygiene. Instead, bruxism is often caused by one or more underlying oral health factors, and the damage that it can lead to is caused by your teeth themselves. Today, we take a look at the problems with having bruxism, including what it could mean for your smile and a few important facts about protecting your smile from it.

What it means to have bruxism

Bruxism is the clinical term for chronic teeth-grinding that’s caused by one or more underlying factors. Unlike occasionally grinding your teeth, which most people do, bruxism is the consistent, often subconscious and uncontrollable grinding of your teeth. This can occur repeatedly throughout the day, though for many patients, the grinding occurs most often when they sleep at night (a condition referred to as nighttime bruxism). If not addressed promptly, the repetitive, excessive pressure and friction of grinding your teeth together can begin to wear them down significantly.

Addressing your bruxism problem

  • The thing about treating bruxism is that, unlike more common conditions, the specific cause can differ for everyone. This means treating bruxism can also differ, and may include addressing a bite misalignment with orthodontic treatment, or building up natural tooth structure to restore your bite’s balance. The first step to addressing your bruxism will be to carefully diagnose its precise cause, or causes, and then develop a plan to address them to avoid exacerbating your teeth-grinding.
  • While restoring your oral health and addressing the cause of your bruxism may entail one or more restorative procedures, many patients can benefit from a custom-designed oral appliance to stop their teeth from grinding together. A bruxism appliance is small and comfortable enough to be worn while you sleep, yet durable enough to protect your teeth from grinding against each other.
  • If your bruxism continues long enough, then recovering from it may also require restoring one or more of your teeth due to extensive wear or damage. A worn down, fractured, or broken tooth will only grow more damaged under the pressure of bruxism, and it may compromise your bite’s balance, making the problem worse over time.

Learn how to deal with bruxism

Having bruxism can be problematic for your oral health in numerous ways. To learn more about how to deal with your bruxism problem, schedule a consultation by calling Silver Smiles in Silver City, NM, today at (575) 534-3699.