Do you know what many Canadians have in common? Bruxism, or as it’s commonly known — teeth grinding. While few people talk about clenched jaws and the problems bruxism can cause, somewhere between just-under 10% and just-over 30% of Canadians grind their teeth. (Compare that to the less than 1% who have a gluten intolerance, yet we all know someone who’s given up wheat.) So why exactly is teeth grinding problematic and why should you care?
Tooth Chips & Failed Restorations.
Often when Canadians think about animals with powerful jaws, we think of wolves, crocodiles, and sharks. But humans jaws are also very strong. And when teeth are forced together with unrelenting pressure, something often has to give. This can lead to teeth chipping or cracking other teeth (think of how when you smack two eggs together one usually breaks while the other remains unmarked) or fillings and crowns being knocked out of place.
Sore Jaws & Headaches.
Even when teeth aren’t damaged by bruxism, patients often experience related pain. Jaws may be sore or stiff from the tension, and the pressure often translates through the skull where it can cause headaches or even neck pain. Canadians can grind their teeth both at night and while awake, so if you notice you have a headache beginning, pay attention to your jaws. Are your teeth tight together or is there a small gap between top and bottom jaw that you can easily feel with your tongue? Many of our bruxism patients experience chronic headaches, and remembering to be aware of your jaws can help avoid aches and pains in the future.
Worn Enamel & Sensitive Teeth.
Flat, sensitive teeth aren’t fun for anyone. Nobody enjoys shooting pain when they eat something hot or cold, nor is it nice to realize your teeth are feeling sort of dull. The pressure from clenched jaws doesn’t always chip teeth in one sudden episode. Instead, sometimes there is a slow erosion of enamel. Teeth slowly get flatter and more yellow as enamel is sanded away and dentin is exposed.
Whether your bruxism is caused by stress or just a quirk of genetics, wearing a night guard can help protect your teeth from unnecessary wear and tear. With a possible third of Canadians experiencing symptoms from teeth grinding, it just makes sense to check in with your local Calgary dentist. We’re here to help you understand the risks of clenching your jaws and to provide you with the tools you need — like a custom night guard — to keep your teeth safe. Call the expert Calgary dentists at Metro Dental Care today!