People’s teeth can tell a lot about them. Dentists know if they grind their teeth while sleeping by looking for abfractions (loss of tooth structure located along the gum line) in the teeth. These are caused by Bruxism, an oral parafunctional activity caused by excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching that occurs in a person’s sleep.
The hard outer protective layer of the teeth is called enamel. The enamel is thinnest in the “neck” portion of the tooth where the crown meets the root. In sleep bruxism, the tooth becomes flexed and the hard enamel is sloughed off. With time, it creates a wedge shaped into the tooth. This makes the tooth more sensitive to pain and vulnerable to decay.
Bruxism is not a disease but a common sleep disorder. Teeth grinding can be brought on by stress, anxiety, malocclusion and growth and development in children. Bruxism can cause damage to the teeth and surrounding tissue. Several symptoms are commonly associated with bruxism, including hypersensitive teeth, aching jaw muscles, tooth wear, headaches and damage to the teeth. But symptoms may be minimal, without patient awareness of the condition.
Treatment for bruxism involves repairing the damage teeth, manage the symptoms and avoid teeth grinding. To prevent further tooth damage, mouth guards can be made by dentists to fit the teeth. The mouth guard can be properly aligned with the jaw to help stop the teeth clenching and grinding during sleep.