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.
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.
Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar build up. Other factors that have the potential to cause gum disease may include:
Grinding your teeth
Gum disease affects only the oral health is a myth. Studies suggest that it contributes to life threatening conditions such as:
Heart disease and stroke – Gingivitis may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke because of the high levels of bacteria found in infected areas of the mouth. As the level of periodontal disease increases, the risk of cardiovascular disease may increase with it.
Diabetes – People with diabetes often have some form of gum disease, likely caused by high blood glucose. People with diabetes need to take extra care to ensure proper brushing and flossing techniques are used to prevent the advancement of the gum disease. Regular check-ups and cleanings with your dental hygienist should be followed.
Chronic kidney disease – People without any natural teeth, are more likely to have chronic kidney disease (CDK), than people with natural teeth. CDK affects blood pressure potentially causing heart disease, contributed to kidney failure, and affects bone health.
Preterm birth – Women with periodontal disease are more likely to have a baby born preterm compared to women without any form of gum disease. Women are more susceptible to gingivitis when pregnant and should follow their regular brushing habits, and continue with dental cleanings and examinations.
To prevent gum disease, proper brushing and flossing and following dental hygiene tips is the easiest way, but regular cleanings with your dentist are necessary to remove calculus and treat advanced gum disease. If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, contact your dentist.
Visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings can help prevent many dental problems as well as to help you maintain optimal oral health. Don’t wait until you have a toothache before you call your dentist. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months.
What happens during a dental visit?
Clinical dental examination – Your dental professional will check for cavities and to see if there is plaque or tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky layer of bacteria. If it is not removed, it can harden and become tartar. You cannot remove tartar with brushing and flossing. If plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, they can cause oral diseases.
Next, your gums will be checked. This will be done with a special tool to measure the spaces between your teeth and gums. With healthy gums, the spaces are shallow. When people have gum disease, the spaces may become deeper.
The check-up should also include your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck. This is to look for any signs of trouble, swelling, or cancer.
Dental cleaning – During the dental visit, your dental professional cleans your mouth by removing any plaque and tartar, polishing your teeth and flossing.
Once your examination and cleaning have been performed, they’ll tell you about the health of your teeth and gums and then make any additional recommendations. It’s important that you see your dentist every six months for a routine examination and cleaning. By seeing your dentist on a regular basis and following daily good oral hygiene practices at home, you are more likely to keep your teeth and gums healthy.