Polk City Family Dentist Discusses Bruxism

What Is Bruxism?

boy asleepBruxism, also called teeth grinding, is a damaging habit that typically occurs during sleep. Bruxism may occur at any age, which is why your Polk City family dentist, Dr. Ryan Hussong, makes it a priority to examine teeth thoroughly during dental checkups. Often a manifestation of stress, bruxism may occur without the knowledge of the sleeper with the result that teeth can be worn down and damaged before the habit is ever discovered. Bruxism damages teeth by subjecting them to significant force on a nightly basis. As teeth grind against one another, they begin to weaken as enamel is lost. Less enamel means a weaker defense against harmful oral bacteria, which can damage teeth through tooth decay. However, the threat of bruxism goes beyond enamel loss. The continual strain of teeth can weaken their structural integrity, making cracking, chipping, and breaking a very real danger. In fact, many untreated cases of bruxism result in the need for multiple dental crowns to be placed so that oral health is restored and teeth can function once again.

These potential consequences would seem to be more than enough to warrant quick intervention when bruxism is discovered. Unfortunately, bruxism can create still more problems. The trouble is that the strain of teeth grinding against one another is not limited to teeth. This stress also affects the temporomandibular joints (the jaw joints), and in many cases, can contribute to temporomandibular joint disorders, conditions with symptoms that include frequent headaches, facial pain, earaches, and jaw pain.

Bruxism and Your Family

The necessity of bruxism treatment can vary based on age. Children, for example, rarely receive bruxism treatment despite the fact that a staggering 38 percent of them grind their teeth. The reason for this lack of treatment is that most children outgrow the habit by the age of six. Teeth grinding in children often begins around age three, and the force generated by bruxism in the age range of three to six does not typically pose a significant threat to teeth.

On the other hand, bruxism is a very serious matter for adults and teenagers. Both teeth and the jaw may suffer if bruxism goes untreated. Therefore, if you notice recurring sensitivities in your teeth or jaw or if you notice that your jaw pops or clicks when you open and close your mouth, seek dental assistance.

About Cornerstone Dental

At Cornerstone Dental, Dr. Ryan Hussong has made it a priority to ensure his patients’ comfort. He enjoys working with patients of all ages and forming relationships with families in the Polk City area. New patients can schedule an appointment or a consultation by calling (515) 984-6001.