Are Your Teeth Wearing Down? Chronic bruxism

Teeth Wearing Done due to Night-time grinding, chronic bruxism

patient with bruxism

Are your teeth wearing down? Severe loss of enamel from bruxism can be replaced.  See how this patient looked after treatment below.

Bruxism, clenching or gnashing of teeth is common to everyone.  Although everyone has some tooth on tooth wear, the amount of manifested tooth structure loss varies dramatically.  Tooth on tooth contact and the subsequent loss of tooth structure or volume is called attrition.  Tooth attrition can occur during the day or at night while sleeping. Most people do not believe that they grind or rub their teeth together at night but the vast majority do.  There are many theories about why we grind, brux, or rub but nothing in the scientific literature has been proven.

Tooth damage comes in many forms. For instance, things like cracks and fractures are the most well-known types of damage, and can occur to varying degrees depending on each patient’s unique dental health. Sometimes, though, the strength and integrity of your teeth can be compromised even when no crack or fracture is present. If your teeth have become worn down, for example, then they may be weaker than before and your whole bite may be thrown off balance. Fortunately, your dentist can help by addressing the cause of your tooth wear and repairing the tooth structure that you’ve lost.

Healthy human teeth are made of some of the strongest and most resilient substances on earth. Yet, even healthy teeth aren’t indestructible, and when exposed to excessive pressure and friction, they can quickly wear down. For many patients, the source of this friction is the consistent grinding of their teeth—a condition commonly known as bruxism. If you notice that your teeth are losing some of their structure, or if your bite feels like it’s becoming less balanced, then you should schedule an examination to determine how to fix it.

Common theories of why people grind or gnash their teeth:

  1. It is a genetic pre-disposition and therefore it occurs throughout life
  2. It is accelerated, heightened, or increased by stress but not initiated or generated by stress
  3. Hypoxic or hypopnic events associated with sleep apnea
  4. Some types of prescribed medications and drug abuse have been shown to cause heavier tooth wear
  5. Positioning the jaw into a braced and clenched position during sports
  6. Compulsive habit of abusive chewing or clenching, biting on foreign objects, or tooth on tooth rubbing during daytime
  7. An unbalanced, non equilibrated or imperfect bite
  8. The muscles of the jaw are not balanced
  9. Psychological imbalance

    crowns for bruxism

    The patient above got new crowns to replace the tooth structure he lost due to bruxusm

It is more likely that tooth on tooth wear is caused by, attributed to, or accelerated by the first seven on the list above.  In other words, THERE IS NO ONE CAUSE OF GRINDING or tooth on tooth wear.

How to Fix the Problem of Worn Teeth

The problem with worn teeth is that they affect nearly every aspect of your oral health. With less structure, they become weaker and more susceptible to further damage. They also become more vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities. To fix the problem, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and oral structures to check for bruxism. If necessary, you may be able to stop grinding your teeth with a custom-designed oral appliance, which protects your teeth from grinding together at night (when bruxism patients grind their teeth the most).  Once a plan is in place to protect the teeth, dentistry can be done to replace the missing tooth structure. Crowns or veneers can replaced on your teeth.

Save Your Teeth from Bruxism

If you notice your teeth becoming increasingly more worn down, then you may be suffering from bruxism. To learn how you can treat it and save your teeth, schedule a consultation by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, at 847-234-0517.

Our practice serves the Chicago metropolitan area including the North Shore and Northwest suburbs