Nooo, I don’t grind my teeth!
Examining my patients’ mouths, almost every day I come across a few with enamel wear mainly as a result of grinding. When I ask them about it, I get the usual answer of:
Noooo, I don‘t grind! No one’s ever told me I grind in my sleep!
Ok now let me tell you some facts:
- Most people have the idea that grinding is caused unconsciously at night only and if they grind, someone from their family or friends would have heard them and let them know about it at some stage. Yes, grinding happens unconscious but not necessarily at night. Actually, it happens quite often during day time when people focus on doing their jobs or driving or even exercising.
- The other thing is that stress is one of the reasons for grinding but not THE reason. For example, one of the reactions of the brain to airway narrowing, like a blocked nose, can manifest as grinding. Sleep apnea can also cause grinding or clenching.
So what are the consequences of enamel wear? Apart from issues like sensitivity, the most important concern that has a massive effect on patients’ well-being is loss of height from the lower part of the face. When you grind, you shorten your teeth so the lower jaw compensates by turning forward and upward which puts a lot of pressure on the jaw joint and muscles of the face and causes corners of the lips to drop down. Also, in a normal mouth, back teeth contact each other but front teeth are slightly apart as front teeth are to bite onto food only. When back teeth flatten, front teeth contact each other and start wearing down as well.
How do I know if I grind my teeth in my sleep? Simply, look in the mirror.
- Look at the pictures and photos below and compare them with your teeth.
Mild Enamel Wear
Typical Teeth Grinding Indicators we see in our Brisbane Dental Practice
Teeth mark on the border of the tongue which is called scalloped tongue. These indentations are the result of compression of the tongue against the adjacent teeth.
White line on the inner side of the cheek or linea alba which is a horizontal streak on the inner surface of the cheek, level with the biting plane and can be sign of clenching or grinding.
So how can Excellence in Dentistry help cure your teeth grinding?
First, we do some investigation to figure out the cause of enamel wear then accordingly we address the issue.
- For a night time teeth grinding cure, we can make you a night mouthguard to help protect your teeth.
- If there’s narrowing of the airways, treatment can be range from a simple nasal spray at night to seeking help from ENT doctor. Sleep apnea can be treated with special mouth devices or you may need to see a Sleep physician.
- Day time grinding and clenching? We’ll go through techniques with you to be able to control the parafunction and be aware of it. In rare cases we recommend a Day Guard.
- To restore the enamel and regain the loss of facial height, we can build up the lost enamel with composite material or ceramics. There are a lot of options available in different price range; each with its own cons and pros.
Similar to those that require treatment to stop mouth breathing when they sleep, if you’re worried about anything I mentioned above, don’t hesitate. Come over and I can examine your teeth and mouth and discuss your options with you.
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Suite 26, 2nd Floor Morris Towers, 149 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, QLD, 4000
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