Types of Tooth Damage from Bruxism
Bruxism can destroy your teeth in many ways. With bruxism, you might experience:
- Receding gums
Grinding damage is when your tooth enamel wears away in small particles. In some cases, you might perceive this as grit in your mouth, but often people don’t notice damage of this type until their teeth are smaller or sensitive.
Chipped teeth occur when larger fragments of tooth enamel break off. These enamel pieces are sometimes noticeable as chunks in your mouth, or you might notice the sharp tooth edges they leave behind.
Cracks in your enamel occur when the force of clenching and grinding causes a tooth to split. The split might penetrate deep into the tooth pulp or the tooth root.
When you clench your teeth, you compress them. You might think your teeth are inflexible, but they can actually squish. Your teeth are structured a little like a Tootsie Pop–hard enamel on the outside, with a softer, more flexible interior. When a tooth squishes, sometimes the enamel flakes off where it’s thinnest: at the neck of the tooth, near your gums, we call this abfraction.
Abfraction and the excessive force of clenching and grinding aren’t good for your gums, either. They can lead to receding gums, making your teeth vulnerable to root cavities, which can lead to tooth loss.