“Why do my teeth look smaller? Why does it hurt to chew or bite? Why do I wake up with jaw pain?” We get these questions often, and the answer is that you may have a condition known as bruxism. It’s a fancy term for teeth grinding, and it can lead to tooth and jaw pain, excessive tooth wear, and problems biting or chewing food.
Beavers & Broomfield Family Dentistry has ways to stop bruxism before it causes too much damage, but if your teeth look smaller already, we have ways to repair that. This can include everything from crowns to veneers to dentures.
Why Do My Teeth Look Smaller?
When you grind or clench your teeth, the pressure wears down the enamel on your teeth, which is the hard outer shell that protects the soft, live tissue inside. As the enamel wears away, it changes the size and shape of your teeth. Your teeth can look smaller, flatter on top, or even sloped, depending on how you grind your teeth. Excessive tooth wear can expose the pulp — the soft, live tissue inside the tooth that holds the blood vessels and nerves. This can cause pain when you bite or chew.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, usually happens as you sleep. However, it can also happen when you’re awake. You may grind your teeth while you’re concentrating or something or when you’re extremely stressed. Some people grind their teeth because of certain medications, such as some types of antidepressants. You may not even realize you’re grinding your teeth!
How Do I Stop Bruxism?
Bruxism can be a hard habit to stop, especially if you grind your teeth in your sleep. How do you stop something if you don’t realize you’re doing it? Dental appliances are available that can keep you from grinding your teeth and help you to break the habit, from a nightguard to a TMJ splint. These appliances can position your jaw at night so you can’t grind your teeth. The nightguard is similar to a bite plate in that it puts a plastic piece between your teeth so you can’t grind them together and damage them further. A TMJ splint is worn on the outside and holds your jaw in a position that keeps you from grinding your teeth.
If you’re in the Fayetteville, AR, area, you can talk to us at Beavers & Broomfield about these appliances. We’ll be happy to discuss all your options with you.
How Do I Repair My Smaller Teeth?
So what do you do if your teeth are smaller? Unfortunately, if your teeth look short or your teeth look smaller, it means the damage has been done and is irreversible. You can’t regrow your teeth. The good news is, we have several options to repair your teeth so they look like normal again — and sometimes better than before! Beavers & Broomfield offers several options in cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry.
If it’s only one or two teeth, we may be able to repair it with fillings or a crown. Usually, though, several teeth are damaged by teeth grinding. We can make repairs with several crowns, which fit over the damaged teeth. Another option is veneers, which are places over the front surface of the tooth and give the teeth a more uniform look. You can choose the color of the veneers, so they will more closely match your other teeth, or you can go lighter for that white smile look.
More permanent solutions include dental implants and partial or full dentures. With dental implants, screws are placed in the jaw so the new teeth can be screwed into them, locking the new teeth in place. Partial or full dentures fit over the gums and can include a small set of a few teeth or a full set of all of the teeth. Dental implants and dentures, unlike the other options, require extraction of the damaged teeth or all of the teeth in order to fit the implants or dentures in the mouth.
Beavers & Broomfield can examine the damage to your teeth and recommend the best option for you. If you’re in the Fayetteville, AR area and have more questions, contact us or request an appointment. Let us show you what we can do for you!