Many dental health issues can be identified by how they make your teeth and/or gums look. For instance, a cavity might create a discolored area on your tooth, and gum disease can make some teeth look longer by causing your gums to recede. Habitually grinding your teeth (bruxism) can gradually change your smile’s appearance, as well, as it causes increasingly worse wear and tear on your teeth.
What Is Bruxism?
Most people grind their teeth once in a while (like when you’re angry, or in pain), but some people do so often enough for it to be considered a condition—bruxism. On occasion, grinding your teeth isn’t a terrible threat. As an unconscious habit, however, the constant friction and pressure of teeth-grinding can wear down their chewing surfaces. As your teeth’s surfaces change, they’ll no longer meet comfortably when you bite down, which can force your jaw to overcompensate when you bite and chew. The imbalance and forced compensation can lead to increased pressure on your teeth and your jaw, leading to a host of dental complications, if not addressed.
How Teeth-Grinding Looks
As your teeth become worn, they may grow more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, or become more susceptible to cracks and fractures. Visually, you may see the chewing surfaces of your teeth become flatter, and the edges of one or more teeth become less defined. As a result, you might have some teeth that appear too short, or that don’t follow the proper contour of your smile.
How to Stop Bruxism
Because many patients grind their teeth at night, you might not realize your condition until your dental checkup appointment, when we inspect your mouth for changes and signs of trouble. If we catch the condition before your teeth suffer damage, then you may find appropriate treatment in a custom-designed mouthguard that protects your teeth from grinding while you sleep. If your smile’s appearance has been altered by consistent teeth-grinding, then we can recommend an appropriate treatment plan, like porcelain veneers or porcelain dental crowns, after your grinding habit has been addressed.
Ask Your Dentist About Bruxism Treatment
If you have bruxism, then there may be many different signs to warn you of its presence. To find out if you have bruxism, schedule an examination with your dentist by calling Modern Dentistry of Shrewsbury in Shrewsbury, MA, today at 508-842-8838.