You’ve been wearing your custom-made night guard, and your chronic teeth grinding is finally under control. Life is back to normal, and you’re sure that your worries are over.
Not so fast! It's great that you’ve eliminated the grinding, but if you don't bother addressing the damage that bruxism has caused, you could wind up facing some serious oral health problems in the future.
It’s important to understand that over time, the extreme pressure created by grinding can cause your teeth to wear, chip, or fracture, making them vulnerable to infection and decay. Sometimes these fractures can be very small and hardly noticeable, so you may not be able to even see the damage. So, just because you’ve stopped grinding your teeth, you may not be out of the woods if the damage is already done.
Why is it Important to Fix Grinding Damage Immediately?
If you had a flat tire on your car, you wouldn't continue driving until you got a new tire, would you? Of course not - running on a flat tire risks further damage to the car and will only result in more costly repairs.
The same goes for your teeth. If there is a problem, it needs to be addressed before things become really complicated. Excessive teeth grinding is known to cause loose or fractured teeth.
Not only is it painful to chew with a fractured tooth, but it is dangerous. With your tooth exposed, you could damage more of the dental structure, or even the nerves beneath. Not to mention that fractures almost always develop cavities and decay if left untreated.
How do you Fix Teeth Damaged by Grinding?
The first thing to do is have a thorough dental exam. You may not be able to identify the real problem, but a dentist most certainly can. Problems caused by grinding can range from a worn biting surface or chips in the tooth, to fractured teeth that need to be removed and replaced.
Once the problem has been identified, there are a number of options available, depending on the severity of the damage:
- Crowns, caps, and bonding can be used to fix chips
- Dental implants, bridges or dentures can be used to replace severely damaged teeth
- A root canal may be necessary if the cracked tooth has been infected
How Can I Prevent Grinding in the Future?
The best plan of action is to continue to use your night guard, try relaxation exercises or meditation to reduce stress, and make sure you maintain a healthy set of teeth. Uncomfortable problems like crooked, misaligned, cracked, or chipped teeth are often the cause of grinding in the first place.
If you address these problems, you can get your smile in tip-top shape, and you will be less likely to experience grinding in the future. Deal with the small problems now, and you could save yourself a lot of pain and money in the future!
Please contact our Gasport dental office if you’d like more information about our remedies for teeth grinding.