Teeth grinding (known as bruxism) can result in headaches, worn down teeth, and jaw and bite problems. On the face of it grinding teeth simply wears away your natural tooth enamel and doesn’t seem to cause much harm, however on further inspection it can often be found that the teeth grinding has caused further dental problems.
Teeth grinding can cause yellow areas on teeth.
When we are born we have a natural protective barrier over the outside of teeth called enamel, this protects the dentine and tooth pulp underneath. The enamel tends to be a translucent grey-ish colour with the underlying dentine being much and darker and often more yellow/orange.
As you grind your teeth the outer enamel is worn away, and the truth then reacts to this as it wants to protect the underlying dentine and tooth pulp, however the secondary dentine that the tooth develops as a protection mechanism is much darker and yellow than the original enamel that was worn away.
Enamel is also a very hard material, and once it is worn away the underlying dentine is much more liable to pick up stains from what you eat, drink and smoke.
This overall affect means that grinding your teeth can result in yellow teeth.
Grinding your teeth can result in headaches.
Generally your teeth are in a harmonious position within your mouth, as you grind your teeth your jaw comes closer together. Imagine the distance between the tip of your nose and the tip of your chin, this distance gets less and less as you grind your teeth.
This can put pressure and tension on the muscles around your face as they adjust to cope with this new dimension. This can sometimes result in headaches.
Tooth grinding can look unattractive.
Thinking about the distance between the tip of your nose and the tip of your chin, when this distance gets less it has the tendency to make us look older. So preventing teeth grinding can maintain this distance and keep you looking younger. What also happens is that as this dimension gets less and less the wrinkles around your face become more obvious, so ensuring that your teeth do not wear a way through grinding really can keep you looking younger.
Grinding your teeth also affects the shape of your tooth. Younger people have more rounded tips to their teeth, and we have a tendency to view this as a youthful feature, however when you grind your teeth you wear away this rounded tip and the edges of your teeth become much square. This looks unattractive and also has a more aged look.
There are a range of treatments for patients who grind their teeth, ranging from a simple soft bite guard which you wear at night through to more complex rehabilitation cases where we completely rebuild your bite. If you live in the local Edinburgh area then please do call our dental practice where we can arrange for an assessment of your tooth grinding and advise you on the best treatment.