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Teeth Grinding

Many people clench or grind their teeth. Although teeth grinding may happen at anytime, people often grind their teeth in their sleep. You may not even know you are doing it. The causes are not clear. Stress is one of the possible cause, but often the reason for the habit is not known. Some of the symptoms of grinding include; a sore, tired jaw, dull headaches, earaches, or sensitive teeth.

Sensitive Teeth

When you clench or grind your teeth, the nerve inside the tooth may become inflamed. This inflammation of the nerve, or hyperemia, causes tooth pain. The tooth may hurt spontaneously but it is more common for the pain to occur during toothngrinding, normal chewing, and especially when eating or drinking cold foods and beverages. Some people experience so much cold sensitivity in their teeth that they avoid very icy beverage entirely or have to drink through a straw. This inflammation doesn't cause any structural damage to the tooth and generally is reversible when clenching or grinding stops.

Fractured or Chipped Teeth

Clenching or grinding forces can break a tooth. Breakage is especially common in teeth with large fillings because decaynand fillings can weaken the tooth and make it more fragile, or once the teeth are worn down, the tooth structure can become fragile and fracture easily. Chipped regions are often seen on the biting edges ofnthe anterior teeth. Usually crowning them can save these teeth but unlessbthe grinding and clenching forces bare controlled, it is only a matter of time before another tooth will break.

Worn Teeth

As teeth are ground back and forth innards subconscious attempt to wear down protruding points, they can become extensively worn. Ironically, though, grinding won't correct the unevenness that first stimulated it.

Tooth grinding follows a back and forth pattern. Because of the shape of the teeth and the bones of the jaw, every tooth along the path of the grinding experiences some wear.

Internal Cracks

Severe clenching and grinding pressures can cause internal cracks and stress fractures in the teeth. They are not painful and unless they go deep into the tooth they do not compromise the strength of the tooth. They look similar to the maze of cracks sometimes can be nearly invisible unless a light beam is angled to reveal them.

Gingival Recession and Exposed Root Surfaces

Pressures on the teeth rock the tooth back and forth inn the bone, damaging it below the gingival margin. When the bone is destroyed, the gingival recession is observed most often on the cheek side of the tooth where the bone is normally thin and most easily damaged. From gingival recession the exposed root surface may become sensitive to air, sweets, or cold. These areas are prone to decay. Depending on the degree of recession, it may be necessary to perform reconstructive gingival procedures as well as correcting the bite.

Loose teeth

If the bone that holds the teeth in place is damaged, the teeth can become loose. Loose teeth are lost ifbthere is no bone support for the tooth.

Cracked Tooth Syndrome

When clenching and grinding causes an internal crack deep inside the tooth, the cracked segment can move away from the remaining tooth structure. The crack is usually so small and the movement so slight that it is nearly imperceptible butbbiting on the tooth at just right angle can cause severe pain. If the crack does not go all the way down into the nerve canal, the recommended treatment is to put a crown or onlay the tooth that holds the broken tooth fragments tightly together so they cannot move and pain goes away. Ifbtue immobilization does not ease the pain, root canal therapy will be be necessary. Cracked tooth syndrome usually strikes the back molars where force is usually strikes the back molars where the force is highest.

To avoid all this above mentioned problems it is recommended that you wear a TMJ Splint