Jaw clenching, also known as bruxism, can be damaging to your teeth in many different ways. Bruxism includes clenching, grinding, and gnashing teeth. It is usually a subconscious behavior that you may not even realize you are doing until you begin to notice dental problems. There have been many different treatment options that can help aid in relieving pressure from the condition and help to limit the damage to your teeth. Some of the most common problems and damage associated with jaw clenching include:
- The most common damaged cause to your teeth is tooth wear. Because of the repeated grinding or clenching, those who experience bruxism often have problems with premature degradation of the tooth enamel. Losing the enamel surface on your teeth makes them more susceptible to cavities.
- Pain and sensitivity are commonly reported by patients who experience jaw clenching. Not only does the clenching begin to damage the surfaces of your teeth, because of the pressure exerted during the clenching you may also begin to feel pain radiate throughout your entire jaw. Because jaw clenching is often done unconsciously often the first sign of a problem is the pain you begin to feel.
- Just as clenching and grinding can damage your tooth surface, it can also begin loosening of teeth. The more you grind or clench your teeth, the looser your teeth will begin to become. Loose teeth can affect your bite, can lead to more damage, and even teeth breaking or coming out.
- Fracturing or breaking of teeth can be quite common if you continue clenching your teeth long term. Grinding and clenching exerts such pressure on your teeth that they begin to move out of place, they begin to get weaker, and eventually they will crack or break under the continued applied pressure.
- Jaw clenching affects the jaw line and your bite initially and long term. Initially it affects the bite because of the pressure between the upper and lower jaws. As damage begins to occur with teeth the bite is even further damaged as teeth are lost or broken. A damaged bite affects the jaw and begins to cause even more pain.
- In several cases, jaw clenching has been shown to lead to headaches. The pressure in the jaw radiates as pain and can trigger even migraine headaches. TMJ is often diagnosed in conjunction with ongoing and debilitating headaches.
Often you may begin noticing the initial pain from grinding or clenching your teeth. If you find that it is an ongoing problem you should work with your dentist to look at the many different treatment options to find one that can help you. Bismarck Advanced Dental and Implants will also help you to take any dental precautions possible to help prevent damage that can be caused by ongoing clenching.