Ways to Treat Teeth Affected by Teeth Grinding

Ways to Treat Teeth Affected by Teeth Grinding

Martyna Bobek LSW, CTP Martyna Bobek LSW, CTP
5 minute read

If you grind your teeth at night, you may have noticed that your teeth are looking a little worse for wear. Grinding will break down the enamel on your teeth over time.

Often, teeth appear flattened after years of grinding. If that is the case, you can likely see the dentin of a few (or many) of your teeth. Dentin is the material that makes up most of your tooth. It is beneath the enamel, but it is softer than the enamel. So, it’s a particularly bad sign if you have been grinding your teeth long or hard enough to expose the dentin

You might also notice chips and cracks spreading over various teeth. You might even have one or more teeth that have started to feel loose.

Fortunately, there are ways to treat teeth that have worn down to these conditions. You will never get your teeth back to their original state, but you can cover the damage, protect the rest of the tooth, and prevent more damage from happening.

Let’s go over some of the most common methods for treating teeth worn down by grinding, including choosing between bonding, veneers, crowns, and implants, checking for further issues, and wearing a night guard.

Cosmetic Bonding

Cosmetic bonding is a fairly quick and easy way to repair damaged teeth. It can be done in one visit. Your dentist will apply and shape a plastic resin to the tooth, which will harden into a smooth layer. The resin is matched to the color of your teeth, so it’s nearly impossible to tell that it’s not your real tooth.

This procedure can be used to repair chipped teeth, cover discolored fillings, close gaps between teeth, or build length back onto teeth that have not been ground down too far. It is ideal for front teeth, but it can be used on other teeth under the right circumstances.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are custom-made to fit over the front of your teeth. It is better to do a set of them that will match each other well because, though they can be matched to your natural teeth color, they are a little more noticeable than bonding can be.

Veneers cannot be used to extend the length of a tooth, but you can add them over teeth that are cracked or over teeth that are getting other repairs. It may be a good idea to use them, in fact, because they can strengthen teeth.

Many people also choose to get them for cosmetic reasons if their teeth are badly discolored. Veneers can help teeth look white and more uniform in appearance. They are thin enough to not require any major changes in the way you eat or speak, but they will make your smile look beautiful again.

Dental Crowns

If you have severely damaged teeth, you will likely need a dental crown or two. A crown is a cap that completely covers what is left of a tooth. It is used to restore the shape and size of a tooth or to cover a dental implant. Crowns are also used to cover teeth that have had root canal treatment. A dental crown can be made of porcelain, gold, or another material. Porcelain is best if you want to match the color of your other teeth, and it will be strengthened by a metal understructure. Some dentists also offer fully resin crowns, which can save you money.

Implants

If one of your teeth has loosened badly, you may need to get a dental implant.  In this case, the loose tooth will be removed and an implant will be drilled into your jaw. The dentist will cover it with a crown to match your other teeth.

Alternatively, you can ask you dentist about flap surgery, gum grafts, bones grafts, guided tissue regeneration, and tissue-stimulating proteins. All of these can help you keep your original tooth. The dentist will know what is best for your particular case.

Check for Gum Recession and Gingivitis

Grinding your teeth can affect more than the teeth themselves. The impact and pressure can lead to gum recession and gingivitis. So, if you see the signs of teeth grinding, be sure to see a dentist to check for gum recession and gingivitis as well.

If you have gum recession, you may need to see a periodontist for treatment. Treatments for gum recession include surgical and non-surgical procedures. A periodontist also may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the gingivitis.

Wear a Night Guard

Whatever treatment you choose, you must begin wearing a night guard to protect your teeth. A night guard is a plastic device that fits over your teeth at night to protect them from further damage.

You can buy a generic one at a pharmacy or a custom one through a dentist's office (custom-fitted is the better choice for protection). Alternatively, through TeethNightGuard, you can order a custom night guard without that additional cost of purchasing it through your dentist.

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