What Happens When You Grind Your Teeth?

Your teeth do a lot. They tear and mash your food into easy-to-digest chunks; they can express your joy when you flash them in a smile; and they help you enunciate your words clearly when you speak. In some cases, teeth also constantly grind against each other, which unlike routine biting and chewing, can wear them down and lead to cracked, fractured, and/or misshapen teeth. Known as bruxism, the habit of grinding your teeth can occur during the day, but if it happens at night, you may be unable to catch it, much less understand and stop it, without professional treatment.

When Bruxism Is Most Prevalent

As the most common form of clinical teeth-grinding, nighttime bruxism affects more patients than its daytime version. Therefore, it often goes unnoticed until a loved one complains about the sound. The habit is often the result of increased levels of daily stress, or it can be a consequence of a bite imbalance (i.e., crooked teeth or TMJ disorder). The dangers posed by undetected and untreated bruxism exemplify the importance of routine dental checkups, during which your dentist can thoroughly inspect your teeth for signs of bruxism damage.

The Consequences of Teeth-Grinding

If your habit is severe enough, then your sleeping partner may hear the grating sound every time you grind your teeth, and advise you to seek treatment. Often, however, bruxism is detected by the marks it leaves, including;

  • Worn down teeth, especially the chewing surfaces
  • Cracked, fractured, or broken teeth
  • Accelerated tooth decay due to exposed inner tooth tissues
  • Destroyed dental work, such as dental fillings and crowns
  • Chronic headaches, especially after waking in the morning
  • TMJ disorder (a dysfunction with your jaw’s joints)

Protect Your Smile with a Bruxism Appliance

If you haven’t suffered dental damage, then you might qualify for a custom mouthguard that prevents your teeth from rubbing together while you sleep, saving your teeth from the strain and friction of bruxism. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling the Sunny Smiles dental office nearest you in El Paso, TX, today! We have offices in the East, Northeast, and Westside of El Paso, and happily welcome patients from all nearby communities, including Chaparral, Canutillo, Vinton, and Sunland Park, New Mexico.