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Is Grinding Your Teeth Really That Big of a Deal?

Do you grind your teeth in your sleep?

You may have noticed your teeth getting a little worn, but maybe it doesn’t bother you. Perhaps you chalk the excessive wear in your teeth up to a normal part of the aging process and don’t think anything of it.

But it’s actually a big problem.

In our practice, we often see patients in their 30s and 40s with 25% or more of their teeth worn down. Unfortunately once the wear pattern starts, it’s like water rushing downhill: it gains speed until it’s severe. If you wait too long to see your dentist, your tooth will either become loose or worn down to only a few millimetres above your gum line.

What are the negative effects of grinding my teeth?

If your teeth don’t fit together properly, your muscles will have to work overtime to grind the teeth away until they touch at the same time. The constant grinding can cause extreme wear and tear on teeth that are supposed to last a lifetime. In some cases, not only will the tooth get shorter, but the bone and gum helping to hold your teeth will melt away. This is not just an aging problem; it can happen to patients of any age.

Grinding your teeth doesn’t just affect your teeth. If you’re constantly grinding and clenching your jaw, you’re placing pressure on the jaw joints and surrounding muscles. You may experience jaw pain and stiffness, facial pain, and even potential earaches.

Since you’re placing a lot of pressure on your jaw joints and muscles, you’re at risk of getting TMJ (temporomandibular jaw disorder), which can also contribute to excruciating pain in your face, neck, and shoulder, and can also lead to difficulty chewing, talking and swallowing.

What is the best way to stop grinding my teeth?

You’ve probably heard that night guards are the best way to stop grinding your teeth, and while they may play a big part in reducing the damage, they shouldn’t be a final solution. If you’re consistently grinding your teeth, you should make an appointment with your dentist to rule out or be diagnosed with bruxism or sleep apnea.

Take a look at your teeth right now. Do you see any excessive wear or chipping on your front teeth? What about loose teeth or receding gums? Chances are, you probably knew about these things before now. But did you know that there is something you can do right now to slow down the process? All you have to do is make an appointment with your dentist.

Let Dr. Andrea Stevens be the expert you need to get you the healthy smile you deserve.

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