Teeth grinding or bruxism is the involuntary clenching, grinding and gnashing of the teeth. Some people are regular, forceful tooth grinders. Often it happens during sleep, but some people grind their teeth when they are awake. Teeth grinding can be a result of stress. For example, some people grind their teeth when they are angry, concentrating or feeling anxious. It can occur in both children and adults.
Effects of teeth grinding
Cracked tooth enamel
More wear and tear on the teeth than is normal
Broken teeth or broken restorations (for example, fillings)
Strain on the jaw joint
Pain in the jaw joint or limited movement
Tooth loss (rare)
Causes of teeth grinding
Emotional stress, such as anger or anxiety
Physical stress, such as illness, poor nutrition or long-term pain
Some dental treatments, such as fillings that sit ‘too high’
When teeth are coming through in babies and children
Taking antipsychotic or antidepressant medications
Regularly drinking alcohol, smoking and using recreational drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine
Treatment for teeth grinding
If you think you grind your teeth, see your dentist or other oral health professionals as soon as possible. They will look at your teeth and talk about possible treatment options that may include:
Repair of tooth damage
Fixing fillings that are too high
A special mouth guard (‘bite splints’) to wear at night so that the guard is worn down instead of your teeth.
Other treatments may include stress management therapy, relaxation techniques, cognitive behavior therapy etc.
In case of teeth grinding, you may seek help from your dental clinic, your doctor, psychologist or from a physiotherapist depending on the cause of teeth grinding.
Mouth and tooth injuries are quite common. Most of the dental injuries occur to the front teeth and lips, tongue, jaw, gums and inner cheek. In babies, injuries could occur due to falling while leaning to walk or playing. Sports are the main source of dental injuries for adolescents and adults.
It is seen that almost half of dental injuries are caused due to sports. Dental injuries can be very painful and it is important to be careful during sports or other activities.
Mouth Guards – A mouth guard is the best way to protect your teeth while playing sports. It absorbs and minimizes the effect of any forceful impact.
Face cages – Some positions in certain sports are very susceptible to dental injuries like hockey goalie, baseball catcher etc. Wearing a face cage can protect against injury in such cases.
Helmets – It’s important to use helmets in sports which are prone to head injuries like in cricket as it protects the most important part of your body – your head.
Knocked out tooth
Whether the result of an accident or biting on a piece of food that’s too hard, mouth injuries can cause teeth to become cracked, broken, or knocked out/dislodged. It is very much possible to repair your knocked out tooth provided you get to your dentist as soon as possible. Teeth which are knocked out and replaced by the dentist within one hour have the best chances of being saved. Even if the tooth or teeth cannot be saved there are various cosmetic procedures to get back your smile such as a removable partial denture/bridge or a fixed partial denture or even a dental implant.
It is important to see a dentist because if left untreated, a dental emergency can lead to serious complications.
Oral piercings, usually in the tongue or around the lips have quickly become a popular trend in today’s society. With this popular trend, it is important to realize that sometimes even precautions taken during the installation of the piercing jewelry are not enough to prevent harmful, long-term consequences such as cracked or chipped teeth, swelling, problems with swallowing and taste, and scars. There is also a possibility of choking on a piece of dislodged jewelry, which makes it important to ask if the risks are warranted.
One of the most serious long-term health problems that may occur from oral piercings come in the form of damage to the soft tissues such as the cheeks, gums and palate, as well as some kind of infections. When performed in an unsterile environment, any kind of body piercing may also put you at risk of contracting deadly infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. A tongue piercing is a common form of body piercing. However, tongue piercings have been known to cause blocked airways (from a swollen tongue). In some cases, a tongue piercing can cause uncontrolled bleeding.
People with oral piercings — especially long-stem tongue jewelry – have a greater risk of gum disease than those without oral piercings. The jewelry can come into contact with gum tissue causing injury as well as a recession of the gum tissue, which can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss.
Caring for your Oral Piercing
Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hard and sticky foods.
Don’t smoke or use tobacco-based products.
Eat soft foods. Consult with your dentist about taking vitamins to promote faster healing.
If you notice any warning signs such as scarring, increased redness or pain at piercing site, bleeding or tearing after initial healing, yellow or green discharge from piercing site etc, contact a health care professional.
Cavities, also known as tooth decay, occur when plaque, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the foods that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel.
Follow these dental hygiene practices to prevent cavities:
Brush your teeth – In the fight against cavities, it is essential that you brush your teeth properly at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
Floss daily – Food debris gets caught in between our teeth when we eat. If the debris is not removed, it can lead to cavities. Flossing every day is the best way to remove food debris from in between the teeth.
Eat healthy – Proper nutrition plays an important role in good dental health. Eating nutritional snacks and limiting the amount of sugar intake will help to prevent plaque from forming on the teeth.
Have sealants placed – Dental sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant protects the tooth from getting a cavity by shielding against bacteria and plaque. Sealants are more common in children because of the new growth of permanent teeth; however, sealants can benefit adults too.
Use a mouthwash – There are several antimicrobial mouthwashes on the market that have been clinically proven to reduce plaque. Rinsing with one of these mouthwashes after brushing or eating can aid in cavity prevention.
Chew sugarless gum – Believe it or not, chewing certain sugarless gums can actually help to prevent cavities by increasing the flow of saliva in your mouth.
It is especially important to keep an eye on how often your child eats as well as what he/she eats. You should limit between-meal snacks to reduce the number of acid attacks on teeth and to give teeth a chance to repair themselves. Limit their intake of candies, cookies, soda and other sugary drinks. Make sure your child doesn’t eat or drink anything with sugar after bedtime tooth brushing. Don’t forget to supervise young children when they brush. Since most cavities in children and adolescents develop in the molars, it’s best to get these teeth sealed as soon as they come in.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an option to restore missing teeth without using additional teeth as support or anchors. They are also able to support dentures and prevent difficulties associated with the slipping and shifting of the denture. Implants are surgically placed in the jawbone and mimic the root of the natural tooth which also prevents bone reduction. Dental implants are restored with crowns, bridges and dentures.
Why get dental implants restore missing or damaged teeth?
A dental implant restores a lost tooth so that it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth.
Dental implants allow you to maintain the natural shape of your face and smile.
Cavities can’t occur in an implant-restored crown, or replacement tooth; however, you will need to visit your dentist as scheduled and clean and care for it and your gums and mouth every day, the same as you would if it were a natural tooth.
Dental implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jawbone, meaning your replacement teeth won’t move, click or shift.
Dental implants go in the jawbone, in the spot where your missing tooth root was, without impacting healthy teeth. They also help prevent healthy, adjacent teeth from shifting as they would if an empty space were left for an extended period of time.
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders – such as diabetes or heart disease – or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. You should consider the fact that it is a surgical procedure so there are always risks present with any surgery i.e delayed healing, prolonged bleeding, infection, surgical complication. There is also a significant time commitment required as the implant site may need to have additional procedures performed to make it ready to accept the implant. If you are considering dental implants, talk to your dentist to see if they are right for you.