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My Dentist Mentioned That I've Been Grinding My Teeth!

The Impact of Tooth Grinding

Tooth grinding, or bruxism, is one of the common dental problem – It’s thought that about five percent of the population are regular forceful tooth grinders. [1,] [2] Though, many of them may be completely unaware of their habit as it usually happens when they are asleep. Often, it is their dentist who would inform them about it. [2]

Over time, tooth to tooth contact could wear away the protective enamel layer. Teeth may change shape, look shorter, and develop chips on their edges or deep cracks within their structure. The person who is grinding their teeth may not notice these changes since these are likely to occur over a long period of time. These may remain unnoticed until so much enamel has worn away that the teeth become sensitive or painful during chewing. By this stage, the treatment that the teeth require can be extensive.

It is important to address tooth grinding before it reaches this late stage. Your dentist can pick early signs of erosion of tooth enamel, or teeth-abrasion as a result of tooth grinding; and advice on some preventive strategies to help reduce further damage. Wearing a custom-made mouthguard-like appliance at night-time is one of the commonly used interventions. [1] It is usually simple to make and utilise. If it gets worn out over time, then it can be replaced with a new one. Not so easy to fix a tooth-structure which has been ground away!

If you think you might be grinding your teeth, or someone has heard you do it, speak to your dentist about ways to protect your teeth from further damage.

[1] Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Teeth grinding. [Online, last updated February 2018, accessed August 2018] Available from: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

[2] Sleep Health Foundation. Teeth Grinding/Bruxism. [Online] 2013 [Accessed August 2018] Available from: www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au

 
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