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Family Dentistry

Stop the Grind: The Long-Term Side Effects of Grinding Your Teeth | Wichita Dentist

Wichita Dentist
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Do you wake up with frequent headaches, toothaches, and neck pain? Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, affects many patients without them even realizing it. Whether you unknowingly clench your jaw throughout the day or you struggle with nighttime teeth grinding, you may experience more severe side effects over time. At Cambridge Family Dentistry, our Wichita dentists are well-versed in treating bruxism and are exploring the long-term side effects of grinding your teeth. Learn more below!

  • Tooth Damage and Gum Recession

    The most prevalent side effect of continuous teeth grinding is severe tooth damage. While teeth are naturally durable and tough, frequent grinding wears away tooth enamel and causes heightened tooth sensitivity, leading to cracked and damaged fillings, crowns, bridges, or dental implants. Additionally, long-term grinding can ultimately cause the teeth to shift and loosen over time, potentially resulting in tooth loss. While you may think the effects of teeth grinding are limited to your teeth, that’s not necessarily true! Frequent tooth grinding can eventually cause your gum line to recede. As your teeth shift and loosen, pockets in your gums are formed, and bacteria can enter and cause your gums to recede from your teeth. If you catch yourself bruxing and unconsciously clenching your teeth, practice keeping your lips together and your teeth apart when your mouth is resting, and take part in other replacement activities, such as pronouncing the letter “N” to solidify this new habit.

  • Jaw Disorders

    Grinding can also affect the jaw joints and muscles, causing Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). Patients with TMD may experience severe facial, neck, and shoulder pain and difficulties chewing, talking, and swallowing. Because the jaw muscles can become tight and overdeveloped, your jaw may be painful to the touch, and your ability to open your mouth may be diminished. If you begin noticing the beginning signs of TMD, it’s recommended to contact your Wichita dentist as soon as possible to correct the problem and safeguard your beautiful smile for years to come!

  • Impaired Sleep

    Don’t miss out on precious sleep due to bruxism! Stress, existing sleep disorders, hyperactivity, and certain medications can cause grinding or gnashing for most patients. While some may be able to sleep happily through their excessive grinding, others may experience chronic pain that keeps them up at night. If you find yourself awakening in the middle of the night with a sore jaw, consult with your dentist to remedy the issue. Oftentimes they will prescribe a night guard to prevent damage, and depending on the damage, they may have to reshape or repair the teeth with crowns. Attempt to prevent grinding before it becomes severe by reducing your stress levels, finding ways to relax, or taking a muscle relaxer.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in all articles published on the Cambridge Family Dentistry website do not necessarily reflect the views of our staff members at Cambridge Family Dentistry.

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