Did you know that there’s a habit you can develop that harms your teeth, but you’re probably utterly unaware of it? Tooth grinding, or bruxism, typically happens at night while you’re sleeping, but you can unconsciously grind your teeth during the day, too.
Grinding is problematic because it damages your teeth in several ways, one of which is enamel erosion, which is irreversible. Once enamel is gone, it’s gone for good.
However, thanks to the cosmetic dentistry services that Dr. Ali Saeghi offers at Modern Age Dentistry, you have treatment options that can put your smile back on track to dazzle again!
The hazards of tooth grinding
You’re at higher risk for sleep bruxism (teeth grinding at night) if you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or you’re a snorer, while stress can contribute to awake bruxism (daytime grinding).
Tooth grinding is common, affecting as many as one-third of those who grind their teeth during the day, and about 1 in 10 who grind in their sleep.
Bruxism symptoms can be visible in the mouth or emerge in the form of other ailments that aren’t mouth-related at all:
- Severe enamel loss
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Flattened teeth
- Damage to the interior of the cheek
- Jaw tightness
- Pain in the neck, jaw, ear, or face
- Tooth sensitivity
If you’ve developed a severe grinding problem, Dr. Saeghi sees the evidence during your routine dental exam. He may notice damage to your teeth and jaw, as well as tooth enamel degradation. Past dental work is also affected, as grinding can cause wear and tear on crowns and bridges.
Are there solutions for bruxism?
Fortunately, there are. Dr. Saeghi may recommend a night guard to wear while sleeping. Though it’s protective, it won’t stop you from grinding. Since “Type A” people — those who are highly driven and prone to anxiety — are more likely to develop bruxism, sometimes stress reduction strategies can help reduce grinding.
If grinding has damaged your teeth to the degree that your smile is highly compromised — both dental health and appearance-wise — dental veneers and crowns are good options.
Veneers are wafer-thin customized coverings, made of either porcelain or resin, that your dentist places over your teeth to hide a multitude of problems, including the cracks, chips, and worn-away enamel that can be the unfortunate results of tooth grinding.
Crowns are porcelain caps that conceal and protect a damaged or worn tooth.
What’s it like getting veneers?
Getting veneers means that you visit us several times. Your first appointment consists of a detailed evaluation of your teeth and mouth by Dr. Saeghi. He looks for evidence of grinding and uses X-rays to review the extent of your grinding damage. He also makes impressions of your mouth, which allow your veneers to be manufactured so they’re exact matches to your real teeth.
Dr. Saeghi must take a small bit of enamel off your teeth, while the area surrounding your teeth is numbed. After the removal process, he makes the model of your mouth, which is delivered to a lab that crafts your veneers so they match the shape and tone of your teeth precisely.
You return to our office after your veneers are delivered, and Dr. Saeghi checks to see that they’ll fit perfectly and are the right shade. He cleans and prepares your teeth to receive the veneers.
Next comes the bonding step, when the veneers are placed on your teeth using a special dental cement. Its drying is hastened with the aid of a special curing lamp.
The dental crown process
Getting a crown involves Dr. Saeghi again making sure that your teeth, aside from the grinding-related problems, are otherwise healthy. He numbs the areas around your tooth that will receive the crown and if necessary, files down your tooth to ensure that there’s enough room for your crown to be placed.
Conversely, if grinding caused much of your tooth to be worn away, Dr. Saeghi fills it so it can accept the crown.
When your tooth is fully prepared, he takes an impression of it, and the tooth below or above it. Then your crown is made so when your teeth come together, it fits perfectly. The process may involve more than one office visit, in which case you’re outfitted with a temporary crown, but we always do everything we can to perform same-day crown procedures.
After the right cosmetic dentistry procedure, your post-treatment smile will wow everyone, but no one will be the wiser because of how natural you look.
Call one of our offices — in Los Angeles, Atwater Village, or Ojai, California — to schedule an appointment to learn more about cosmetic solutions for bruxism damage, or request one online.