Regular visits to your dentist and proper oral hygiene are best for healthy teeth and gums, but ensuring your smile is appealing is also important. If you are one of the 30 to 40 million people who grind their teeth, treatment is essential to protect your teeth and gums. Using this guide, you can understand the severity of bruxism and find the best restoration option for a healthy, appealing smile.
Symptoms of Bruxism
When grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw at night or while resting, the pressure wears down the surface enamel of your teeth. In most cases, dentists are able to see this damage during a routine exam. While this physical sign is a main symptom of bruxism, you may also experience the following symptoms:
- Headaches every morning
- Facial pain or discomfort
- Popping, clicking, and discomfort in the jaw
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Swelling in the jaw or neck
After determining that you are grinding your teeth, your dentist will first suggest a mouth guard for treatment. Constructed out of plastic or resin, the custom guards fit over your teeth to protect the enamel from grinding. While mouth guards do prevent further damage, they do not restore eroded enamel.
Treating the root cause of your bruxism is imperative for preventing further damage. However, consider one of the following options to restore damage to your teeth from grinding:
- Fillings – Dental fillings are best for restoring minimal fractures or enamel damage. Your dentist may suggest composite or porcelain fillings for a more natural look.
- Implants – If you have lost one or more teeth due to your bruxism, dental implants may be your best option. Your dentist will remove the broken tooth and surgically implant a titanium rod before attaching the artificial tooth.
- Veneers – Bonding porcelain veneers directly over existing teeth will ensure a restored smile. Your dentist will most likely recommend wearing a mouth guard to protect the thin, porcelain covers from possible grinding in the future.
- Crowns – Of all the various options, dental crowns offer strong protection from the jaw clamping, clenching, and tooth grinding of bruxism. While crowns offer this intense protection and support, they also improve the appearance of damaged teeth.
Bruxism is a common problem that is easy to treat. After an exam, your dentist can determine the best method to treat the condition and restore your smile to a more appealing, healthy state. For more information, contact a dentist such as Dr. Paul Goodman.