Q: I’m a youngish adult, early thirties. I have family in Canada and the US so one year it seems I’m getting my teeth cleaned in one country and then the next year the other.
In one place they just clean my teeth, the dentist comes in and says, “Looks good, see ya.” In the other place the hygienist talks to me about the fact that I am wearing my teeth quite aggressively.
The dentist picked this up independently and said, “We’ve got to do a bite work up.” I know it’s happening but it feels too big to think about. Having said that, I don’t want to be looking at stubs in my mouth thirty years from now and having it be more expensive.
The “serious” dentist said I could be grinding my teeth at night, during the day, or even when I am chewing food. He told me how I could tell when I’m grinding and how to catch myself. He said if I grind when I chew my food I could tell because I chew through my food, feel my teeth and then grind, giving myself the “knowledge” that I’m chewing thoroughly.
At my next meal, I found I really do grind my teeth when eating. The thing is, it feels so natural and I like to feel like I’m really grinding my food up. Doesn’t everyone? When I went back, the dentist showed me that I grind at other times too. He said that to put my teeth back to their original shape I need a lot of crowns.
Is that the only way? Can I wear a guard?
A: Sooner or later you will have to have your teeth restored to their original size – definitive treatment demands that. Functional grinders do greater damage to their teeth than those who grind their teeth occasionally during the day or at night.
Having said that, front teeth are the guiding teeth to chewing so it is possible to correct them first and it’s important that you start there. Obviously if you make your front teeth their original length and thickness it will be like putting a prop in the front, thereby causing the back teeth to come apart.
Once your dentist establishes where your front teeth should be he/she can carefully add thickness to your back teeth so all your teeth meet at the same time. At first the “thrill” of grinding your back teeth will be missed but soon you’ll acclimate and know you’re no longer destroying your teeth.
When funds permit, you’ll be able to have your back teeth crowned, thereby finalizing the treatment. A bite splint is always a good measure to protect your teeth from their nightly workout.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation or visit us today.
Based on actual patient cases
© Calvin Ross Crapo
Victoria Implant Centre 778-410-2080