Most people think of grinding their teeth as a momentary nuisance. Grinding your teeth during the day or at night can leave you with a jaw ache, a headache, and potential tooth damage. Unfortunately, the last of those may also be causing unwanted effects for your entire face: you may be looking older than you really are. Here's why it happens and what you can do about it.
When you grind your teeth, it doesn't just put pressure on those teeth and make them uncomfortable or painful. Over time, without stopping the grinding, you will eventually damage your teeth. Teeth are designed to be strong and durable, but like diamonds, if you rub two objects against each other with equal strength, they will eventually wear down and chip away at each other. Sadly, this is exactly what happens when you grind your teeth together.
The Problem Worsens
Worn-down teeth don't just put your oral health at risk and cause pain for you. Over time, it can dramatically change the way that your face and jaw look. If your teeth are worn down equally, it will ultimately mean that your teeth will become shorter than they used to be. This completely changes the way that your jaw looks while you're at rest and your mouth is closed. Instead of a prominent, strong jaw bone, it may look like you have a receding one that can make your neck and jawline look saggy and old. Sadly, if you continue to grind your teeth together, your teeth will gradually shorten further, making the problem even worse.
What To Do
If you know that you grind your teeth or even suspect that you do, you should see a dentist. Dentists are experts at this kind of thing and will be able to tell with a physical examination and a set of X-rays whether or not your teeth have been damaged and shortened. If your teeth have been damaged by grinding, your dentist can help. Through fillings and crowns, you can have your smile restored to the way that it used to be. This will not only protect your teeth from damage but will also help your jaw to return to its original at-rest position, making your jawline more prominent again and reducing or eliminating the prematurely aged appearance as a result.
Furthermore, talk to your dentist about grinding protection. Your dentist can provide you with a mouthguard to wear at night or during the day when you can't stop grinding. It will protect your teeth from further damage and help to prevent this problem from happening again in the future.
Tooth grinding can be an absolute menace to oral health, but it can also make you look older than you really are. Talk to a dentist and get this problem under control before that happens.