You could be Damaging your Teeth while you Sleep and not Even Know It

wrecking teeth while sleepingMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Stress and anxiety seem to be common occurrences in the lives of most people. But, did you know that you could be taking it out on your teeth without even knowing it? Bruxism is classified as clenching, grinding, and gnashing your teeth, and it most often during sleep. While stress and anxiety can be causes of this oral health disorder, missing or crooked teeth are more common causes of bruxism. Find out more about this disorder, and how your Miami dentists can help.

Why is bruxism a big deal?

When you gnash your teeth, it exerts a considerable amount of pressure on your teeth, the surrounding tissue, and your jaw joints. While our teeth can handle pressure from normal chewing and biting, bruxism exerts an excessive amount of pressure that can cause irreversible damage to your teeth if you don’t seek treatment. Here’s how.

It can cause gum disease

Excessive pressure from clenching and grinding your teeth can actually damage periodontal tissue, such as the ligaments surrounding your teeth, the gums, and jawbone. When this occurs, gums recede, causing pockets where bacteria lurk and cause even more damage, such as gum disease. Even if you take good care of your teeth by brushing twice a day and flossing daily, untreated bruxism could be wreaking havoc on your oral health. Eventually, your teeth may become loose and need extracting.

It can breakdown your teeth

Bruxism can cause tiny cracks or fractures in your teeth, which make them more susceptible to tooth decay or sensitivity to temperature changes in the mouth. If you have bruxism, you may notice the top surfaces on your teeth look flat, which is especially noticeable on the back teeth. Eventually, as the dental enamel wears away, the underlayer known as dentin becomes exposed, which leads to tooth sensitivity and pain.

It can be related to TMJ disorder

TMJ disorder means the jaw joints are misaligned and can be caused by an untreated case of bruxism. The constant pressure from gnashing your teeth together all night while you sleep causes the jaw and facial muscles to become tense and may lead to inflammation and misalignment of the jaw joints. And, vice versa. In other words, those that suffer from TMJ disorder are more likely to also deal with bruxism. Either way, you should get it checked out by Miami area neuromuscular dentists at Miami Designer Smiles.

How do I know if I have bruxism?

The best way to tell if you have bruxism is to receive an evaluation by your dentist. But, some of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder include worn teeth, teeth that are sensitive, receding gums, jaw joint or facial pain, headaches (especially when you wake up), loose teeth, and flat teeth on the chewing surface. Most cases of bruxism occur while sleeping, although some may even grind and clench their teeth during waking hours. If you have missing teeth or your teeth are misaligned and crooked, you could have bruxism and not know it. A simple evaluation during your regular six-month checkup could determine whether you have bruxism.  

You might think that since bruxism is often associated with stress, that only adults are affected. But, bruxism actually is most common during childhood. One study revealed that 38% of parents polled reported that their children under the age of 17 experienced teeth grinding. Therefore, it is essential for patients of all ages to receive an evaluation for bruxism. Dr. Raul Garcia and Dr. Concepcion Sanchez-Garcia have received extensive post-graduate training at the Las Vegas Institute, which is an internationally recognized learning institution as a leader in neuromuscular and cosmetic dentistry.

Bruxism Treatment in Miami

To learn more about bruxism, receive an evaluation, or discuss the best treatment option for your case, contact Miami Designer Smiles at (305) 595-4616. We can determine the source of your facial or jaw pain, and provide you with relief from your teeth gnashing. We provide dental services to patients in Coral Gables and Miami.