People’s teeth can tell a lot about them. Your dentist will know if you grind your teeth at night by looking at your tooth structure. The dentist will look for any loss of structure integrity between your teeth along the gum line (abfractions). These are caused by excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching when you sleep (Bruxism).
The tooth enamel is the hard outer protective layer of the teeth. The enamel is thinnest in the “neck” portion of the tooth where the crown meets the root. In sleep bruxism, the tooth becomes flexed and the hard enamel is sloughed off. With time, it creates a wedge shape into the tooth. This makes the tooth more sensitive to pain and vulnerable to decay.
Bruxism is not a disease but a common sleep disorder. Teeth grinding can be brought on by stress, anxiety, malocclusion and growth and development in children. Bruxism can cause damage to the teeth and surrounding tissue. Symptoms commonly associated with bruxism, include hypersensitive teeth, aching jaw muscles, tooth wear, headaches and damage to the teeth. But symptoms may be minimal, without patient awareness of the condition.
Treatment for bruxism involves repairing the damage teeth, manage the symptoms and avoid teeth grinding. Your dentist can make a mouth guard to prevent further tooth damage. A properly aligned mouth guard can help stop the teeth clenching and grinding during sleep.