Your oral health takes into consideration more factors than just the strength of your teeth. As a matter of fact, the quality of your oral structures, tongue, gums, jaw, cheeks, lips, and throat all contribute the quality of your overall oral health, which means ensuring each of these aspects is functioning properly is critical. In today’s blog, your Cedar Rapids, IA dentist will take a look at the effects of teeth-grinding on your smile and how it may lead to a serious jaw dysfunction known as TMJ disorder.
Consistent Nighttime Grinding
Have you ever awoken to a sore or tense jaw? If so, you may be one of the many individuals every year that suffers from bruxism. Bruxism – also known as chronic teeth-grinding – occurs when one clenches their top and bottom structures together, then proceeds to subsequently move their lower mandible from side-to-side, creating friction between the teeth. This phenomenon can affect any person at any time, but most often occurs while a person is unconscious or asleep. If you suspect you are experiencing bruxism, do not hesitate to reach out to our team to schedule your appointment and learn your options.
Side Effects and Complications
While teeth-grinding may not seem like a major concern, on the contrary, it can actually lead to a variety of complications. For instance, the most immediate effect is the soreness and tension it causes your jaw. Indeed, clenching can make it difficult to perform routine tasks throughout the day, including opening your mouth to eat or talk properly.
Another problem that may arise is the reduction in strength of your teeth. The consistent friction from chronic bruxism can result in the subsequent weakening or wearing down of the surfaces of your teeth. This not only can lead to structural damage such as chips or cracks, but it makes it easier for oral bacteria to find their way in and cause concerns such as infection or decay. For more information about this process, reach out to our team.
How to Combat TMJ Disorder
In addition to these side effects, you can also become at risk for developing a potentially serious jaw dysfunction. When a person clenches and grinds, their lower jaw is moving from side-to-side in a manner it normally does not function. If this continues, the possibility that the lower jaw and the two temporomandibular joints (TMJ’s) become misaligned. This phenomenon is known as TMJ disorder.
A person suffering from TMJ disorder may experience a loud or painful popping or clicking sensation as the jaw attempts to realign. What’s more, the longer it is out of alignment, the more likely you are to suffer significant damage. Fortunately, splint therapy and custom oral appliances can help to correct this concern.
Schedule Your Next Appointment
Reach out to the team at Cedar Dental in Cedar Rapids, IA by calling 319-364-7108 to learn more about the dangers of bruxism and how a custom appliance or therapy can help protect your function.