If you notice that your tooth hurts, or that your gums are bleeding when you brush and floss your teeth, then it may be obvious that something’s wrong with your oral health. However, the signs of other oral health concerns, such as bruxism, might not always be so obvious at first. Bruxism describes the constant grinding of your teeth, and over time, it can lead to a number of different concerns with your teeth and oral health. Yet, because grinding your teeth doesn’t typically seem like a problem, it might be easy to overlook it as a significant concern.
When to consider it a problem
The problem with teeth-grinding as a result of bruxism is that you can’t completely control the condition on your own. Unlike the occasional teeth-grinding that most people experience, bruxism is a condition that’s often caused by one or more different underlying concerns. For example, you might grind your teeth subconsciously because your jaw joints and muscles are damaged or distressed. Or, your teeth may be misaligned, and the stress of keeping your bite straight enough to function may cause your teeth to consistently clench against each other. For many people, bruxism doesn’t become an obvious problem until it starts to cause noticeable impacts on their teeth.
What untreated bruxism could lead to
If you catch yourself grinding your teeth together during the day, then you can consciously, but temporarily, put a stop to it. The problem, though, is that bruxism isn’t controllable long-term, and you’ll grind your teeth much more often than you realize it. Over time, the pressure and friction of grinding your teeth together will wear down their protective enamel and healthy structures, especially along their chewing surfaces. The longer your bruxism remains untreated, the more damage your teeth may sustain, and the more serious the complications can be to your oral health.
What you should do about it
For many patients who realize they have bruxism, or have been diagnosed with it, protecting their teeth requires personalized treatment designed to address their specific oral health concerns. Yet, in many cases, the condition can be addressed with the help of a custom-designed bruxism appliance. Similar to a mouthguard, but smaller and more comfortable, a bruxism appliance is designed to protect your teeth from grinding against each other. The appliance is worn at night, when many bruxism patients grind their teeth the most, and is comfortable enough to allow you to sleep peacefully.
Talk to your dentist about teeth-grinding
If you catch yourself grinding your teeth often, then it may be time to talk to your dentist to determine if it might be a problem. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, call Lake Orion Family Dentistry in Lake Orion, MI, today at 248-693-6213.