Many people grind or clench their teeth to the point of permanent damage. Most people are unaware that they do this because it is usually while they sleep. Grinding and clenching is also known as bruxism. It can lead to worn teeth or cracked teeth. Worn teeth usually age people as much as wrinkles and can often lead to:
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Receding Gums
- TMJ Problems
- Pain in the Back, Shoulders and Neck
Worn teeth can also collapse your natural bite which causes the jaw to close down farther than it should. This can lead to TMJ pain and uncomfortable jaw popping. If teeth are not protected against clenching and grinding it can lead to unnecessary dental procedures including crowns, veneers, root canals, extractions and implants.
Dentists generally suspect bruxism when they see flat teeth or wear facets. Wear facets appear on the cusps of your teeth and look like potholes in a road. These potholes can be worn completely through the enamel, exposing the underneath secondary layer called dentin. Enamel is the protective layer before dentin, and having exposed dentin (missing enamel) can lead to cavities and sensitivity.
A custom-fit night guard can be made for patients by their dentist to prevent the further damaging of teeth. It is important to have a custom-fit guard that accounts for your unique bite profile and prevents exasperation of the joints in your jaw. A night guard may not be sexy, but its much sexier than missing teeth!