Many people clench their teeth. Yes, this usually happens when you are mad at someone but this is not the only time patients clench their teeth. Another reason people clench their teeth is because of stress. Everyone knows that stress can cause health problems, but few people think about the problems stress can cause your oral health.
If your stress is expressed by clenching your teeth, they are at risk. If you do it during the day and at night when you sleep, it can go so far as to cause you to lose teeth. Bruxism is the technical term for clenching your teeth. If you do it when you are awake, you may be able to correct that action yourself.
If you are aware that you have the condition, you can stop clenching your teeth when you notice you are doing it. If you clench your teeth when you are asleep, then it becomes an entirely different story. You may not even realize you are doing it.
How Can It Lead to Losing Teeth?
When you clench your teeth, you put an enormous amount of pressure on them. You may not necessarily clench them in a way your teeth are aligned, which can cause you to chew differently. Clenching your teeth causes you to lose tooth enamel. This makes your teeth more susceptible to decay. Where you may notice a cavity forming on the outside of your teeth you probably won't notice it as a result of clenching your teeth.
Your teeth are attached to your jaw like a pole in the ground that is reinforced by concrete. As you clench your teeth, the stabilizing factors of your teeth in your jaw can deteriorate. This can cause your teeth to loosen, and eventually, fall out. The decay itself also weakens your teeth making it more vulnerable to loosening.
Fortunately, we can detect patterns of tooth clenching in a routine dental exam. We can then make you an appliance, like a mouthguard, that you can wear at night to relieve the pressure and protect your teeth from decay.
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