By Dr Lawrence Spindel, Tuesday January 27, 2009
Dentist New York
Teeth Grinding is a destructive habit that left untreated can, cause significant damage to the mouth and jaw. Possible undesirable sequelae include tooth sensitivity, tooth erosion(both of enamel and dentin), cracked tooth syndrome, and attrition of the edges of the anterior teeth, creating a less attractive smile.
No one really knows for sure why patients grind their teeth while sleeping. Patients grinding their teeth can be heard making loud ‘grinding noises’. It does stop immediately if the person woken up. Teeth grinding is particularly dangerous because patients grinding are at a significant risk of cracking and loosing teeth due to the undue forces that are being applied. Fortunately, most patients do not exhibit this behavior during waking hours, partly because it hurts and we also seem to have a natural inhibition from doing it.
Fortunately, people who grind their teeth do not always grind them every night and certainly do not do this all night long. Instead they have short bursts of grinding that probably occur during REM sleep.
Treatment should be conservative and involves the patient wearing a plastic night guard, which will discourage tooth grinding and will buffer the teeth from possible damage . This guard should be worn preventively each night to protect against the effects of grinding.