How Crowns Can Save Teeth Damaged By Sleep Bruxism

Bruxism is the medical term for unconsciously grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw. Many people grind their teeth while they are awake, often due to stress or anxiety. However, you may not be aware that many people grind their teeth while they are asleep, a condition sometimes known as sleep bruxism.  

It's no surprise that grinding your teeth for hours every night can have a negative effect on your oral health. Prolonged sleep bruxism can cause severe wear to your teeth, and may leave them cracked, chipped, and vulnerable to infection. If sleep bruxism has badly damaged one or more of your teeth, dental crowns may be the best way to save them from further damage.

How Can You Tell If You Have Sleep Bruxism?

Because sleep bruxism occurs while you are unconscious, many people who grind their teeth in their sleep are completely unaware of the problem until their teeth become noticeably damaged. If you notice cracks or chips in your teeth that haven't been caused by an accident or tooth decay, sleep bruxism could be the cause.

However, you may become aware of sleep bruxism before your teeth start to suffer if you frequently wake up with pain in your jaw, neck, and/or cheeks. This pain is caused by prolonged muscle tension in your facial muscles. Muscle tension can also cause headaches, which usually dissipate relatively quickly after you wake up.

If you notice any of these potential symptoms of sleep bruxism, you should visit your dentist to have your teeth inspected for signs of bruxism damage. Your dentist may also ask you to undergo a sleep study. During these studies, your jaw muscles will be monitored using electrodes and/or video cameras to check for grinding and clenching.

How Can Crowns Save Teeth Damaged By Sleep Bruxism?

If your dentist diagnoses you with sleep bruxism and finds that one or more of your teeth have been badly damaged, the damaged tooth or teeth will need to be repaired. Minor damage can be repaired using tooth-bonding composites. However, bonding is ineffective at repairing more severe damage. It can also wear away quickly if you continue to grind your teeth in your sleep.

For teeth badly damaged by sleep bruxism, having a dental crown fitted is often the best repair option. To fit a crown, your dentist will reshape the damaged tooth into a smaller, peg-like shape. A crown carefully crafted to mimic the appearance of a 'real' tooth is then fitted over the tooth and fixed permanently in place using dental cement.

Dental crowns are particularly useful for repairing tooth damage caused by sleep bruxism because they are more durable than bonding, veneers, and other tooth repair methods. Treating sleep bruxism can take time, and you may continue to grind your teeth for some time before they start to reduce your sleep bruxism. Crowns are tough enough to endure continued sleep bruxism without becoming damaged.

Learn more about how dental crowns can help you.