Our teeth are incredibly hard and durable but they wear down as we age. This “attrition” occurs naturally when we chew our food, and crooked teeth or a bad bite can also play a role.
But by far the biggest cause is clenching and grinding of the teeth, called “bruxing.” This activity can happen while we’re awake, while asleep, or both. And most of the time we aren’t even aware of this bad habit.
Most people clench or grind their teeth on occasion, some more than others. For the most habitual bruxers, the results can have a severe impact on both our appearance and our health.
Bruxer’s “ground down” upper front teeth are typically very short. Their teeth are worn straight across and instead of having gently rounded contours, the biting edges are often jagged. All this results in a very unnatural, unattractive smile.
Not only that, bruxing causes functional complications, too. Clenching and grinding can cause headaches, jaw pain, decayed (think root canal) and fractured teeth and more. Left untreated, the problems only get worse – and the treatment more involved and expensive.
Sometimes veneers, crowns and implants alone can remedy this problem. Most often, orthodontics is needed to help restore your natural, healthy smile.
Take a good look in the mirror. If you’re a bruxer, understanding the role of orthodontics in treating worn-down teeth is very important. Over the next several months we’ll be discussing this further, including Dr. Wilson’s own treatment for a serious bruxing problem…stay tuned!