How Grinding Teeth Can Derail Cosmetic Treatments

Our last several blog posts were meant to educate both dentists and patients about the six most common cosmetic dentistry mistakes that can cause restorations, such as dental veneers, to go off the rails. These mistakes can result in a less than perfect smile, and ultimately, an unhappy patient. In this blog, we discuss para-function as yet another factor that cosmetic dentists must take into account before recommending and providing cosmetic dentistry treatments. Para-function is a term used to describe grinding teeth, clenching, lip biting, thumb sucking, and any other oral habit not related to chewing or speaking.

Mistake #4: Forgetting about Para-Function

Bruxism or grinding of teeth and clenching the teeth are by far the most common of the para-functional activities and are observed, to some degree, in almost 90% of the general population. Most people get by just fine with para-functional habits, but it becomes a challenge when looking to restore teeth that have been destroyed by such habits. The problem occurs when a dentist overlooks the habit and goes straight to doing a smile makeover. Without addressing the para-functional issue, or choosing restoration materials wisely, the newly placed veneers eventually chip or break off leaving the patient understandably unhappy with the outcome.

Reading the Signs
Grinding teeth or chronic clenching can cause tremendous damage to teeth – damage that is noticeable to the trained eye. Your dentist, as part of the initial consultation for any kind of cosmetic dentistry procedure, should ask you questions about possible para-functional habits. But even if your case is a mild one, or if you are unaware of your habit there are usually telltale signs in your mouth that the dentist should be looking for.

Old Habits Die Hard
If bruxism, clenching or any other para-functional habit are causing damage to your natural teeth, it will certainly do the same to your new veneers. I have seen many patients who had veneers placed in the past by another dentist, only to break or chip them off because of a slight grinding teeth habit that they were not even aware they had. Recognizing the signs of these types of habits, understanding when it’s happening, and then treating the problem is key to a long-lived smile after your cosmetic dentistry treatment.

Dr. Agatha Bis has been providing cosmetic treatments including dental veneers in her Oakville cosmetic dentistry practice for more than 20 years. Get in touch with us if para-functional habits like grinding teeth are ruining your smile using the form below or by calling us at 905.338.6684.

This blog is the fourth in a six-part series about the common mistakes made in cosmetic dentistry.

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