A: In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear the teeth down to stumps. When these events happen, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures and even complete dentures may be needed.
Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, result in hearing loss, cause or worsen TMD/TMJ and even change the appearance of your face.
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Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.
If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress.
Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:
• Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
• Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
• Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum, as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
• Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
• Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.
Information provided by Dr. Rob Swanson, Swanson Dental, 2423 Willis Ave., Perry, (515) 465-5170.