Femme souffrant de douleurs dentaires.It goes without saying that most individuals are aware of the dangers that arise from traditional oral health threats. These can range in severity, encompassing issues that target the teeth, the gums, and any other aspect that is contained within your oral cavity. Still, however, these problems merely scratch the surface, and a number of people are completely unaware of the dangers that accompany nontraditional oral concerns such as sleep apnea and bruxism. In today’s blog, your Silver City, NM dentist will take an in-depth look at the causes behind teeth-grinding, as well as what future complications can arise when treatment is not sought.

More Than a Minor Inconvenience

Have you ever awoken with a tense or sore jaw that makes it difficult for you to properly open your mouth wide? If you answered yes, you have more likely than not experienced an episode of bruxism. Bruxism, also known as chronic teeth-grinding, occurs when an individual clenches his or her teeth together and proceeds to move the lower mandible from side to side, generating friction.

Sometimes teeth-grinding can occur when an individual is conscious, but most of the time, it occurs when one is asleep. In its initial stages, it can appear as no more than just a minor inconvenience. As it continues, however, you will begin to notice a handful of signs and symptoms.

Chronic episodes of bruxism can contribute to weakened oral structures. This then leads to bigger concerns down the line, including increased chances of developing infections as well as easier chipping and cracking. If you suspect that you grind your teeth, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team today.

A Few Different Causes

There are a few different circumstances that may lead to bruxism, including heightened levels of anxiety or environmental stressors. One possible cause can include the effects of obstructive sleep apnea. You see, when the throat muscles relax, the airway is restricted, and not enough oxygen is able to make its way to the brain. In response, the brain sends signals to reopen the airway, which can be accomplished through brief rousing or through grinding one’s teeth.

Dangers of Jaw Dysfunction

If left unchecked, chronic bruxism can cause a dangerous jaw dysfunction known as TMJ disorder. This phenomenon occurs when the lower mandible becomes misaligned with one or both of the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) from which it hinges to the cranium. The result is a noticeable, often painful popping sensation as the jaw attempts to realign itself. What’s more, you will endure difficulty performing routine tasks such as speaking or eating and can even experience significant tissue damage.

Learn More Today

While it may seem like a minor concern, unchecked teeth-grinding is not to be taken lightly. Contact Silver Smiles in Silver City, NM by calling 575-534-3699 to learn more about your options or to schedule your next appointment with our team today.