The Dangers of Teeth Grinding

Fountain View Dental - Dr. Harden - Magazine Around Town CoverNovember 2009

By: Dr. Scott Harden

Once again I am awakened shortly after drifting off to dream land by a violent thud to my rib cage! “You were grinding again and I thought you were going to break your jaw!” my wife exclaims. And so it has been for more than 16 years, when we both are on our way to what we expect to be a very nice and relaxing night’s sleep, we are thrust out of our slumber by the awful sound of teeth grinding against teeth always resulting in a strategically placed elbow to my ribs.
I suffer from a condition known as Bruxism, a condition that cause people to grind their teeth while asleep or even subconsciously while they are awake, and results in serious dental problems that include cracked teeth, broken teeth and noticeable wear. In my case, my front teeth and my back teeth were worn by 30 percent and I have broken several over the years. The vice-like strength of my jaw muscles delivers unbelievable forces as I grind my teeth in all directions. No wonder my jaw aches and pops when I eat and my neck aches from this unbelievable amount of stress!

I had no idea what to do or what could be done about my teeth until I met with Dr. Scott Harden at Fountain View Family Dentistry and Spa. First of all, I didn’t realize the extent of the damage nor had I been aware of how my smile had changed over the last twenty or so years. I didn’t heed the warnings of my previous dentists about the damage that this condition was causing. Although I did take the suggestion of a nighttime mouth guard but found I would just spit it out in my sleep. I knew I hadn’t been the best at taking care of my teeth and suffering from bruxism made it all the more worse. Dr. Harden counseled with me on several ways to fix the problem including what would happen if I didn’t do anything. We talked about my dental treatment plan and what was necessary to restore my teeth to a normal functional level, reduce my neck aches, calm down my achy joints and a way to eliminate my grinding. His recommendation and my selected choice — a full mouth rehabilitation to reverse the damage that has occurred to my teeth over the last twenty years.

He outlined the process to me, utilizing study models, photographs of my teeth, digital x-rays and other wonderful technology that helped me totally understood each and every segment and why it was important. I had made my point clear that I was against the full mouth rehabilitation if any of it was about vanity! Rest assured, Dr. Harden advised, that vanity was a beautiful side benefit but everything he had recommended was necessary for my overall dental health. I already knew this because it was very obvious, but appreciated his reassurance. After much deliberation and prayer, I gave the go ahead on this major project.

The staff at Fountain View Family Dentistry was extraordinary and took great care with every step. The hygienist was extremely gentle and informative. The dental assistants talked t me and help me relax and were very well trained especially with the complex level of care I needed. I appreciated the business office staff working closely with me to explain the costs, payment options and then scheduling my appointments. I was anxious, not just for the process, but somehow questioned myself if I truly was doing the right thing. Vanity is not my gig! Plus, this being a major process, it wasn’t necessarily the right economic timing for a mouth disaster in our family so I needed extra assurance. Dr. Harden and I met on several occasions, always on my schedule and we decided to continue.

I won’t lie to you, there were several appointments when I was in “the chair” for a few hours at a time, but each process was carefully explained and always at my pace. I have never experienced the administration of numbing agents where there was relatively no pain. Shots and I do not get along and this was nothing for this big coward! If there is one word I would use to describe the entire process from start to finish and I had to be extremely accurate with this one word, I could only use the word “organized.” No matter whom I was there to see, what I was there to do, how long I was supposed to be there, it always was exactly what they stated. In this day and age, meeting expectations isn’t good enough…people always want the best treatment. I can honestly say that every person I came in contact with at Fountain View exceeded my expectations in fact, exceeded my heightened expectations at that!

Within a few short months, my situation had been completely corrected. Not every case takes this long but you have to remember, my condition was one of the worst you could imagine. I am thrilled with the look and feel of all my teeth, especially how well they function, and my new smile, the side benefit of the wellness process, well that’s pretty wonderful too. The cost of such a personalized and amazing transformation of my teeth was a very reasonable cost; especially compared to other dentists I spoke to in the past. I strongly recommend Fountain View Family Dentistry to all my friends and family for their entire dental needs. If they can perform this level of treatment and make is so organized, predictable and provide such excellent results, I know they can help children, adults and seniors with routine family care as well. At last my bite has been restored and I have a new nighttime mouth guard I actually wear all night long. My neck stopped hurting and my jaw doesn’t “click” any more. Hey, even my ribs don’t hurt anymore — “Sleep tight, dear!”