We like to think that we’re in control of our bodies, whether it’s by choosing to eat healthy foods or forcing ourselves to hit the gym for our daily workout. Most of the time it’s easy to make conscious decisions that positively impact or health, which explains why teeth grinding is such a confounding problem. Sometimes it’s a matter of stress; others, not so much. Dr. Gordon Chin, who treats teeth grinding in Black Diamond, Alberta, debunks common misunderstandings about the nature of bruxism and its treatment.
Fiction: Teeth grinding is always stress-related
Fact: Some, but not all, teeth grinding is stress-related
Although teeth grinding that takes place during the day is generally in response to stressful situations, the same is not true of nocturnal grinding. If you find yourself clenching and grinding when stressed, it’s best to find a less destructive means of coping with these negative feelings—it could very well be the difference between keeping your teeth and losing them further down the road.
Fiction: Bruxism isn’t harmful
Fact: Grinding your teeth can be devastating to your teeth and jaw
It’s easy to see why this myth is so popular. After all, what harm could possibly come from grinding your teeth for a few minutes at a time? Quite a bit, says Dr. Chin. Your jaw is more powerful than you think, and it’s capable of subjecting teeth to an inordinate amount of stress and friction. Over time, teeth become visibly flattened by grinding, or they may chip or break altogether. Sensitivity may develop as the enamel wears thin, and the tooth faces a greater risk of becoming non-vital (that is, dead). Bruxism also makes you more likely to develop a TMJ disorder, a painful condition affecting the jaw joints.
Fiction: Grinding is a conscious decision
Fact: You needn’t even be awake to grind your teeth
For someone who grinds their teeth at night, it isn’t as simple as willing yourself to stop doing so. In fact, many patients who go through nocturnal bruxism are entirely unaware of their actions. It’s not until a frustrated bedmate complains of the incessant noise that they even consider seeking treatment! Because you can’t always control whether you grind your teeth while sleeping, it’s important to seek professional treatment before the damage becomes severe. Your dentist will recommend an appropriate treatment plan to avoid future damage; he may also suggest restorative dental work, such as dental crowns or veneers to repair damage already done.
Questions about teeth grinding in Black Diamond, AB? To learn more about prevention and treatment of bruxism, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gordon Chin, contact our dentist office at 403-933-2225. We welcome patients living in Black Diamond and the surrounding areas in Alberta.