Our article this week, Tooth Sensitivity: How Your World Golf Village Dentist Can Help, talks about tooth sensitivity. Clenching and grinding is a very common cause of sensitivity, and it can be very destructive to your teeth. Even worse, you may not even know you are doing it since most do it at night. Clenching and grinding is known as a parasomnia. The most famous parasomnia is sleep walking. There is a reason you are clenching and grinding and it is important to find out why you are doing it.
Most people point to stress as to why they clench and grind. And that can be a short term cause for INCREASED grinding of your teeth, it not the CAUSE. It can create acute pain in a particular tooth. Guests often call and say they have a toothache. After taking a necessary x-ray, nothing appears wrong with the tooth. However, all of our teeth have a ligament around them, like your knee or ankle has ligaments. These ligaments can be hurt like any other ligament. Since the ligament surrounds your tooth, it feels like a toothache. A little TLC and in about a week it feels better.
However, this type of acute pain can simply be the canary in the coal mine. Rarely do we see someone with this type of pain that does not have other signs and symptoms of grinding. The big sign you can see yourself is chips on your front teeth. Or if you have had dental fillings or dental crowns break, that is common sign you are grinding your teeth.
Upon examination of your teeth, we can actually see holes developing in the teeth of grinders. Fractures develop as well. When you grind your teeth you can break your fillings or simply cause them to open up. If the filling opens, bacteria can seep down and cause decay. If untreated, it can lead to a root canal or loss of teeth. That is why it is so important to get regular checkups with your World Golf Village Dentist.
We can stop you from grinding your teeth. I first want to let you know how we are going to make the situation better right away, and that is with a night guard. A night guard is a clear plastic tray that goes over your teeth. You wear it at night, since, as discussed, most grinding is done at night. The destruction of grinding is done to the piece of plastic, instead of your teeth. We do not recommend an over the counter night guard, as they are “one size fits none” and you will not like it. Worse, if you actually use it, some studies have shown it actually PROMOTES clenching of teeth. That’s what we are fighting against. Only a professional night guard, made by your World Gold Village dentist is recommended. This is not the fix, but rather a temporary measure to allow sensitivity to decrease in conjunction with our extra strength fluoride toothpaste. You did not get this way in a day, and we are not going to fix it overnight. Tomorrow’s blog will focus more on your sleep and its connection to grinding.