Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a serious oral health issue that can lead to damaged enamel, tooth decay, dental fractures, and tooth loss. In addition to oral health problems, chronic teeth grinding can leave sufferers with dull headaches, jaw pain, and discomfort when eating. If you suffer from teeth grinding, it's important to seek treatment to protect your smile and prevent dental damage. General dentistry services can help you maintain your oral health and prevent the damage that is caused by teeth grinding. For more information about teeth grinding treatment, schedule a consultation with Pittsburgh, PA dentist Edward Narcisi.
What Are the Causes of Teeth Grinding?
There isn't a clear understanding of what exactly causes teeth grinding, but it is believed chronic teeth grinding may be rooted in a psychological cause, physical cause, or both. The possible psychological causes of teeth grinding include anxiety, stress, or trying to focus attention. Some of the possible physical causes of teeth grinding include sleep apnea, acid reflux, an abnormal bite, a side effect of certain medications, or a complication of Parkinson's disease.
The Importance of Treatment for Teeth Grinding
It's important to seek treatment for teeth grinding as soon as possible. If left untreated, teeth grinding can lead to severe dental damage. Prolonged grinding wears down the enamel, the protective layer of the teeth, leaving the teeth vulnerable to decay. In addition to an increased risk of tooth decay, teeth grinding increases the risk of chips and fractures. Chronic teeth grinding can lead to abfraction, notches along the gum line, and attrition, dental wear caused by the friction of tooth-to-tooth contact. Teeth grinding can also cause gum recession and tooth loss.
Treatments for Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding can have more than one cause and may require a combination of treatments to provide relief and dental protection. In order to determine which treatment is best for each patient’s needs, Dr. Narcisi will perform a thorough dental examination and formulate a personalized treatment plan, which may include these treatments:
- Mouth guards or night splints: One of the most effective ways to protect the teeth from the damaging effects of teeth grinding is by wearing a custom-made mouth guard or night splint while sleeping. Mouth guards and night splints act as a barrier between the teeth, reducing the risk of attrition and other dental problems associated with teeth grinding.
- Orthodontics: For those who experience teeth grinding due to misaligned teeth, orthodontic treatment is often beneficial. Some patients choose traditional orthodontics treatment with metal braces while others prefer more discreet treatment with Invisalign® clear aligner trays.
- Tooth replacement: In some cases, missing teeth can cause the alignment issues responsible for teeth grinding. Replacing missing teeth with treatments like dental bridges or dental implants can reduce the grinding caused by tooth loss.
- Stress management: For those who suffer from teeth grinding as a result of stress or anxiety, stress management techniques may be able to help. Some ways to reduce stress include meditation, yoga, walking, reading, or painting.
Find Out Which Treatments Are Right for You
For more information about teeth grinding, and to discover your treatment options, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Narcisi.