Clenching and Grinding Teeth in Calgary

For some of us, grinding our teeth (bruxism) is an everyday event that causes destruction to our teeth and dental tissues – and annoys those who have to listen to the sounds of tooth grinding. Often related to emotional stress, which may cause an individual to grind from time to time – clenching and grinding is frequently a symptom of an abnormal bite. Shawnessy Dentist – Dr. Andy Hoe – explains that an abnormal bite exists when teeth in the upper and lower arches do not relate properly – or fit together correctly – resulting in abnormal bite patterns.  When teeth in the upper and lower arches don’t interdigidate normally there is a constant need by the brain to ‘fix’ the imbalance.  Grinding and Clenching of teeth is the body’s own way of trying to balance contact between teeth and create a more comfortable environment.  The problem with grinding is that once it starts it quickly becomes habitual – with teeth grinding all the time and causing significant damage to teeth and surrounding tissues.

When an individual falls in to a habitual pattern of clenching and grinding, teeth can be shortened in a relatively short time – to the surprise of the grinder.  Grinding causes dental enamel to be reduced which results in the softer underlying tissue to be exposed.  This softer tissue – dentin – does not hold up as well to the forces of grinding and teeth can be diminished to mere stumps in no time at all.  Once dental grinding has gone through enamel to the softer dentin a patient experiences discomfort due to sensitivity.   Tooth sensitivity occurs when the tiny openings on the surface of dentin are exposed.  These openings – called tubules – increase a tooth’s reaction to temperature and pressure.  The more worn down a tooth/teeth become, the more dentin is exposed and tooth sensitivity is increased. 

Clenching and Grinding of teeth also has an impact on the soft tissues of the mouth – gums, periodontal ligaments, and facial muscles.  If you wake each morning with a dull headache, facial muscle tension, and a sore neck – chances are you’re clenching and/or grinding at night.  And if your teeth are becoming shorter and you’re noticing areas of gum recession – chances are highly likely that you are clenching and grinding.

Bite Dental in South Calgary is familiar with diagnosing and treating the many signs and symptoms of bruxism.  Whether it’s making someone a night guard to wear to help protect teeth and slow down the destruction caused by grinding, or restoring worn down teeth to better form and function, Dr. Hoe and his staff are able to offer treatment solutions that address the impact of grinding. If you suspect that you are clenching or grinding – contact Bite Dental today to schedule an appointment – 403.201.2483

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