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Dentistry Memphis

The Dangers of Chronic Teeth Grinding

Young man smiling after undergoing treatment for chronic teeth grindingIf you watched cartoons as a child, you might remember how anger was often signified by a character clenching his or her teeth together and grinding them violently, perhaps as steam escaped from his or her ears. As adults in real life, we may not share many traits with our cartoon counterparts, but millions of us do grind our teeth. We don’t necessarily do it while throwing temper tantrums, but certainly when we’re stressed, and often when we’re fast asleep.

At Southwind Dental Care, the restorative dentistry practice of Timothy S. Messer, D.M.D. in East Memphis, teeth grinding treatment of the highest quality is available to our valued patients. Why would it be important to seek treatment for teeth grinding, you might ask? Chronic teeth grinding, clinically known as bruxism, is actually a serious condition that can lead to numerous, often painful oral health problems. In fact, it could be responsible for some of the tooth, jaw, head, or even neck and shoulder pain you are experiencing right now. By finding an effective solution to your chronic bruxism, you could relieve a lot of your current discomfort while helping to assure a clean bill of oral health for the future.

Why do people grind their teeth?

Sometimes teeth grinding can be traced back to a single definitive cause; sometimes several likely causes can be pinpointed. In some cases, no clear causes present themselves. In most cases, stress and anxiety are at least probable contributors, especially among people who grind their teeth while they sleep. Other common causes include misalignment of the teeth, problems with the bite, and frequent sleep disturbances.

How can teeth grinding be dangerous?

When you grind your upper and lower teeth together, it creates friction. This friction is not healthy for your teeth in terms of their structure or their protective enamel. It is also unhealthy for the supporting tissues of your teeth, including your gums and your jaws. Essentially, teeth grinding puts your entire mouth and structures throughout your upper body at risk of damage.


The most common problems associated with teeth grinding include:

  • Tooth enamel erosion: As stated above, the friction created by teeth grinding can eventually cause the protective layer of the teeth, the enamel, to become worn.
  • Tooth decay: Once the enamel becomes worn, the underlying layer of the teeth, the dentin, becomes highly vulnerable to decay.
  • Root canal infection: As the teeth decay, the chambers within the teeth, clinically known as the root canals, are at risk of infection. This painful condition requires oral surgery; otherwise, the tooth will eventually die.
  • TMJ disorder: TMJ disorder involves the joints that connect the lower jaw to the base of the skull, in front of either ear. This disorder can cause intense pain in the jaw, head, neck, and shoulders.

Other common problems associated with teeth grinding include:

  • Loose teeth
  • Broken fillings
  • Broken crowns
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Damage to the gums
  • Jagged front teeth
  • Jaw muscle soreness

Learn More about the Dangers of Teeth Grinding

To learn more about the dangers of teeth grinding and how the condition can be treated, please contact Southwind Dental Care today.

Tagged In: Teeth Grinding, Restorative Dentistry

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I have been to several dentists in the Memphis Area and I have finally found THE ONE!! Dr. Messer is the best dentist I have ever been to. I have complete confidence in any procedure that he performs and I can't imagine ever going to any other dentist.

-Meredith Page B.