How Worn Teeth Occur As You Sleep

added on: June 16, 2014

Worn teeth (where tops of teeth are flattening out) indicate a problem. This problem won’t improve without finding its source, resolving it and repairing affected teeth.

In most cases, teeth wear down due to an improper bite alignment, which leads to night-time grinding. Since you’re asleep when this occurs, you’re unaware of what creates the urge to grind your teeth together. Basically, here is what’s happening:

• When your jaw fully closes, bite misalignment upsets the normal contact between teeth. Because this doesn’t feel comfortable, you slide your lower jaw forward in an attempt to find a more comfortable position.

• As you sleep, you may repeat this movement over and over, causing wear to the contacting teeth. Often referred to as ‘bruxism’ in the dental office, this motion urges you to press your lower front teeth against the backs of the upper front teeth.

• When you slide forward to find a more comfortable position, you end up with the edges of your front teeth together. Once front teeth wear down, your back teeth are now vulnerable to wear as side-to-side grinding begins.

• As you unconsciously move the jaw from side to side, you wear down the front teeth, including your canines (or ‘eye teeth’). 
The extent of this side-to-side movement can be surprisingly wide. By the wear patterns of upper and lower teeth when together, a dentist trained in neuromuscular dentistry is able to ‘see’ how the jaw is moving during sleep.

• In a nutshell, most people grind their teeth in a subconscious attempt to create a more comfortable bite. It’s your body’s way of telling you that something is out of whack and is trying to fix it for you.

The only way to remedy the problem is to adjust the bite and restore worn teeth. This is usually done with porcelain crowns. Crowns help to reposition your bite and protect teeth from further damage.

If you are noticing worn teeth, the problem will only worsen without treatment. Grinding and clenching can result in cracks and fractures that can lead to tooth loss. Call 1-866-9-Smiles to request a no-cost consultation to discuss modern, appropriate treatment options.

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Dr. Ban R. Barbat

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