Teeth grinding is clinically referred to as bruxism. It is considered as both a medical and a dental problem due to the fact that it affects both the teeth and the structure near it including the head. Nocturnal bruxism occurs when people grind their teeth during sleep. Others grind their teeth during the day and this thought to be as result of stress, anxiety or a joyous event.
Teeth grinding has a number of causes. Some experts view it as just a habit while others say the body’s that it can be as a result of the body’s reaction when the teeth do not line up or come together properly. It can also be a symptom of certain rare disease of the nerves and muscles in the face. Severe bruxism can break dental fillings or damage the teeth. Rubbing the teeth together can cause the outer layers of the enamel to wear away, leaving the dentin exposed. This leads to teeth sensitivity.
When the teeth are clenched constantly, the biting surfaces of the upper as well as the lower teeth become worn out and can get chipped or damaged. In cases where crowns or overlays are present, they can be damaged and will need to be replaced. Dentures also get fractured and the teeth will require restoration to their former condition.
Grinding the teeth continually will wear away the teeth slowly and eventually change their shape. This will force you to change your bite and this can hamper your dietary intake as it makes eating certain foods a little more difficult.
Bruxism also results in malocclusion in which the upper and the lower teeth occlude in a dis-harmonic way, for instance, through premature contact of back teeth. When it persists for long periods of time the enamel wears away and this alters the appearance of the teeth. This wear is uneven because the pressure is rarely dispersed evenly. Some teeth become much shorter than others. Some will appear jagged and have a different shape from the rest and this would require restorative dental treatments such as veneers or bonding.
Bruxism damages the temporamandibuar bone by making it become stressed as a result causing harm to the muscles that support it. It can also cause a change the shape of the bones. When the temporomandibular joint is damaged, patients suffer from a clicking noise when they move the jaw and a lot of pain in and around the area.