Tag Archives: Teeth Grinding

Should She Finish This Smile REconstruction?

I have worn teeth because of teeth grinding. I didn’t realize I was doing it and my last dentist never mentioned it. However, when I moved I switched dentists because of the location and this dentist pointed out a whole bunch of things I didn’t know about. The grinding makes sense and does explain why my teeth have become more sensitive in recent years. She mentioned that I would need a mouth guard to protect my teeth from nighttime grinding and to repair the teeth, most of them would need crowns. We did the lowers first and it was a bit traumatic for me. I tend to have trouble with change. Plus, I have had some gum inflammation. My dentist wants to finish the procedure, but I am hesitant. My teeth aren’t hurting as much anymore and I miss my old smile. It wasn’t perfect, but it had a quirky nature I enjoyed and fit my personality. Do I really need to finish? Could I just whiten the tops?


Dear Patty,

Woman Smiling.

I have not seen your case, so it would be tricky to give you a definitive answer, but I can give some general guidelines.

First, change is hard for some. I know. Though in my experience, when a case is done by a skilled cosmetic dentist patients are thrilled when the results are finished and grateful they went through the trouble. It’s a bit like remodeling a house. It’s inconvenient, but when it is done you have the home of your dreams. This leads me to the quirkiness issue.

These are your teeth. If you want quirky in your smile, by golly, your dentist and their ceramist can put it there. In fact, because most patients want a perfect, flawless smile, my guess is they’d be thrilled at the chance to put some character in a smile.

Finally, while you could just whiten the upper teeth, dental ceramics will be harder on your upper teeth than your natural tooth structure was. If you have structural loss from teeth grinding, that would include the upper teeth. I am afraid only doing half the fix will actually make things worse for you in the long run.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Will CEREC Crowns Last with Teeth Grinding?

I like the idea of CEREC crowns but I’m not sure if they are durable enough. I have worn my teeth down because I grind them at night. I have a high-stress, security clearance job that I seem to internalize. But I really don’t have a choice. I can’t talk about it to anyone outside of my co-workers and I am limited to what I can say to some of them. My dentist recommended CEREC crowns. The machines in the office look new, so I asked how long she has been doing CEREC. She said it’s been about 8 months. Is this a gimmick that she is trying to pay for at my expense or can CEREC stand up against me grinding my teeth every night? I need 4 crowns. How long will they last? Thanks. TY

TY – Chronic bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a concern for your natural teeth and any type of crowns you receive—not just CEREC. Teeth grinding can cause your jaw and facial muscles to ache. It can also lead to neck pain and headaches. And you’ve seen the damage it has done to your teeth.

A Priority over CEREC Crowns

Photo of CEREC same-day crowns digital scanner and computer, and the milling machine, available for same day crowns from Mike Malone DDS in Lafayette, LA
CEREC technology

Your first concern should be limiting the effects of teeth grinding; it will protect your teeth and your CEREC crowns. We’re surprised that your dentist hasn’t recommended a customized night guard. A night guard is comfortably worn at night to reduce bruxism and control the impact it has on your teeth. You won’t have to wear a big, uncomfortable device that prevents you from sleeping well. Today’s night guards easily fit into your mouth and are comfortable to wear. Many patients report that they sleep better while wearing them.

How Long Will Your Crowns Last?

There are several factors involved with how long your crowns will last:

  • The lifespan of a dental crown is about 15 years if you take good care of it. The same is true of a CEREC crown. Some crowns last even longer.
  • It’s important to get a custom night guard to protect your new crowns and the rest of your natural teeth. Without the protection, the pressure on your teeth can cause the crowns to crack.
  • CEREC crowns are made of porcelain. They are a durable option for protecting worn or broken teeth.

Ask your dentist about a custom night guard. If for some reason she is hesitant to fit you for one, we recommend that you get a second opinion from a dentist who has many years of experience with CEREC and dental crowns.

This post is sponsored by Mike Malone, DDS, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Lafayette, LA.

Did the Oral Surgeon Lie to Me?

When I turned 18 my wisdom teeth began to bother me. We checked them and my dentist said, they don’t have to be removed, but if I wanted to remove them she’d give me a referral to an oral surgeon. We decided to just see what he had to say. He told me I really needed to removed them, otherwise, I’d need braces from crowding. If I had them removed, I’d not have to face that. I’m almost 40 now and suddenly my teeth are crowding. Did he lie to me or is something else going on? What can fix them at this point? I’m a little old for a mouth full of metal. Heck, I didn’t want that when I was young.

Tabitha L.

Dear Tabitha,

A woman placing in her Invisalign aligners

I don’t think the oral surgeon intentionally lied to you, though, admittedly I don’t know who he is or anything about his practice habits. He was, as we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt, overly generous of the benefits of removing your wisdom teeth. While it did prevent your wisdom teeth from causing crowding, it can’t stop other causes of crowding.

Reasons Teeth Can Crowd

There are numerous reasons for crowding aside from wisdom teeth which don’t fit. Here are just a few which could pertain to your situation:

  • Grinding

Most people who grind their teeth don’t even realize they’re doing it. Generally, it’s the dentist who first recognizes the signs of teeth wearing down due to the grinding. Believe it or not, that back and forth pressure can shift your teeth. A simple mouthguard can protect your teeth in these situations.

  • Sucking

I’m assuming you’re well past the pacifier and thumb sucking stage, but even some adults have an oral fixation. You see it when they always seem to need something in their mouth, pens and other things.

  • Losing a Tooth

If you lose a tooth and don’t get it replaced, your teeth will shift to close in the gap. This shifting can cause problems for the remaining teeth. At the very least, things will start to look off. This is one of the reasons it’s quite important to replace a missing tooth with something like dental implants.

  • Shoddy Dental Work

There are unskilled dentists out there. Poorly shaped crowns, bridges, and other work may change the bite or begin to push teeth out of alignment. Often the patient ends up with a serious case of TMJ Disorder.

  • Tooth Trauma

When there is an injury to your teeth it can affect them in a variety of ways, including shifting.

  • Tumors

Don’t panic about this if you get regular checkups with x-rays. Your dentist would have noticed this. But, if you have sudden huge changes in your bite, it’s worth getting another x-ray. It’s rare, but tumors can significantly change your jaw, teeth, and bite.

Repairing a Bite without Braces

There is a simple solution in your case. If it’s just a matter of your teeth shifting and crowding Invisalign is a perfect solution. This uses clear aligners to straighten your teeth. No one will know you’re wearing them, even at a conversational distance.

Talk to your dentist. Let he or she know what’s going on. They’ll help you get the smile you’ve always loved back.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Dentist Blamed My Mouthwash for My Veneers Falling Off

I had porcelain veneers placed on about a month ago. Two of them have fallen off. I went in to see my dentist about it. He agreed to bond them back on free of charge. When I asked them why they fell off, he got offended and blamed my mouthwash. Is that accurate? Am I damaging my porcelain veneers?

Betsy B.

Dear Betsy,

Porcelain Veneer being placed on a tooth

There are certain mouthwashes that could (eventually) cause a problem with your porcelain veneers. I doubt any of them would cause them to fall off that quickly. It sounds like your dentist is passing the buck for his poor bonding technique.

Most mouthwashes are fine to use with your dental implants. The ones to watch out for containing alcohol. Listerine is the biggest culprit. It can contain up to 21% alcohol. If you avoid that ingredient, you should be fine and there are plenty of brands to choose from. Crest Pro-Health and Breath-Rx are two alcohol-free brands. Many dental offices even sell it in-office.

I’m a little concerned with the response your dentist gave you. I don’t like it when professionals don’t take responsibility for their mistakes. The bonding on porcelain veneers is quite strong and, when properly done, lasts the lifetime of the veneers. Yes, there are things which can damage it, but rarely is that seen to wear down so quickly. Is your dentist one who does a lot of cosmetic procedures or just a family dentist who dabbles in cosmetic work? That can make a huge difference in their technical skill, artistry, and even knowledge of their work.

In case they’re not an office with expertise in porcelain veneers, I want to warn you about something before your next check-up. Under no circumstances should your hygienist use any power polishing equipment, such as a prophy jet. This will take the glaze right off your porcelain veneers. Then they’ll become dull looking and pick up stains quickly. In short, it will ruin them. If this isn’t a practice that knows a lot about cosmetics, their hygienist may not be trained in these procedures.

Caring for Your Porcelain Veneers

  • Choose a soft toothbrush

Often, we encounter patients who use hard toothbrushes thinking the firmness means it cleans better. The opposite is actually the case. All the hard brush will do is scratch your veneers and wear down your gums. Even brushing hard can damage your gums, so brush gently.

  • Choose Your Toothpaste Carefully

While we’re on the subject of toothbrushes, let’s talk about toothpaste. First, avoid whitening toothpaste. They have abrasives in it which is supposed to attack stains. They do. But, they also attack the glazing on both natural tooth structure and dental work, like porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns. This will cause them to actually pick up stains more readily. While teeth whitening can help with natural tooth structure, it can’t do anything for dental work.

The best brand of toothpaste for any kind of cosmetic dental work is Supersmile. It’s specifically formulated for cosmetic dental work.

  • Floss every day

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You need to keep healthy gums.

  • Avoid using mouthwash which contains alcohol

We’ve already gone over this in-depth so we won’t rehash it here.

  • Get cleaning from an experienced cosmetic practice

We’ve discussed above the damage power polishing equipment can do. The same is true of a pumice. The problem is there are many things a dentist or hygienist can do to ruin your veneers. That’s why it’s important to go to a clinic who doesn’t need additional training.

  • Consider getting a mouthguard

This is only necessary if you happen to be someone who grinds or clenches their teeth. Those habits can do serious damage not only to your cosmetic work but to your teeth in general. It can lead to chipped or broken teeth and even TMJ Disorder. The problem is most people don’t even realize they’re doing it because they only do it in their sleep. A good dentist keeps an eye out for that and checks for the signs. If you’re not sure, ask your dentist. A mouthguard isn’t very expensive and can protect you from additional harm.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Can CEREC Crowns Handle Night Grinding?

My dentist recently purchased a CEREC machine he’s very excited about. I have a cavity that he feels is too large for a filling. He wants to me have a crown done using the machine. I just wanted to get a second opinion as to how they hold up as well as normal crowns. My dentist said I grind my teeth at night. I’m assuming he would only give me a crown that would hold up against that, but just wanted to double check.


Dear Lizza,

Machine for CEREC Crowns

This is one of those yes and no answers. CEREC crowns are every bit as strong as traditional crowns. The biggest difference is they’re able to milled at the time of your appointment, eliminating the need for either a temporary crown or a second appointment.

However, I’m truly concerned about your grinding. When your dentist mentioned to you your teeth showed evidence of nighttime grinding, did he suggest anything to you, such as a nightguard? Your teeth need protecting. The stress of grinding will not only wear down the enamel of your teeth down, but can also lead to your teeth cracking and breaking.

When your enamel wears down it leaves you vulnerable to decay. With decay, you’ll be looking at a mouth full of fillings. Even worse, would be the possibility of losing a tooth. Then you’re looking at getting a tooth replacement, such as dental implants or a dental bridge.

While your choice of crown is fine, just like your natural teeth, it won’t stand up under grinding without you having some type of nightguard to protect both your natural teeth and your crowns.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Really Confused about TMJ Treatment?

I’ve been recently diagnosed with TMJ dysfunction was told I would need to be fitted for a splint that I would wear for 69 months until my symptoms went away and then I would need to look at more permanent option like orthodontics. This doesn’t seem to reflect a lot of the research I’ve been doing. Most of what I’ve been reading seems to say that TMJ is very poorly understood and they aren’t really sure how to treat it. I’ve read that splints can be effective but it varies from person to person and they shouldn’t be worn over an extended period of time. I also read that irreversible options such as braces should be avoided. Doing less seems to be the preferred method of treatment. So now I’m really confused. Do I go ahead with what the doctor recommended or do I try lifestyle changes such as correcting my posture, minimizing stress, etc which seems to be supported my credible institutions and organizations.

Thanks, Ashley

Dear Ashley,

We are glad to know that you have been doing some of your own research on TMJ Dysfunction. The cause of temporomandibular dysfunction is unclear and can be difficult to treat at times however some things that can contribute to this disorder are grinding and clenching of the teeth, stress, a bad bite, and arthritis. Wearing a splint can relieve a lot of symptoms like a popping and clicking jaw, headaches and earaches, as well as in the prevention of grinding and clenching of ones teeth. This disorder can last for a short time and go away on its own or last for years. At times orthodontics is recommended especially if your bite if off. Having braces may eliminate your TMJ dysfunction but not a guarantee. If patients experience severe symptoms and a split is not working for them surgery is recommended however this is very rare. Making some lifestyle changes is not a bad idea and may help relieve some pain therefore reducing stress, eating soft foods, exercise, and not chewing gum to name a few. Placing ice or heat packs on the side of your face may also help in relieving some discomfort.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist


Am I Grinding My Teeth?

For the past of couple nights when I’m a sleep I feel like my jaw keeps going to the side and I can’t move it…like it locks up on me and I don’t know if it’s actually doing it or if it’s just me dreaming. Technically it feels like it goes to the right side and no matter how bad I try to move it I can’t and then I wake up. So I don’t know if it’s a dream or if it’s really happening while I’m asleep. It’s not painful just real annoying. Happened about 5 times already. Any information on this?

Thanks Derek

Dear Derek,

It sounds like your grinding your teeth at night while you’re sleeping. It is common for this to happen especially if you have some stress or anxiety, an improper alignment of the teeth, or even some missing teeth. Grinding over time can chip and break your teeth, cause them to become worn down, and even cause bone loss around your teeth. If you notice that you are continually doing this in your sleep we recommend you let your dentist know about your grinding and have them do an exam to see if there are signs of grinding. If so, a custom made mouth appliance will probably be recommended for you to wear at night while you are sleeping to prevent you from causing damage to your teeth and help in the prevention of future grinding. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol and relax your jaw muscles at night by putting a warm washcloth on your jaw by your earlobe.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

Questions about porcelain veneers

I used to brush my teeth too vigorously, and as a result I have quite a bit of erosion and abrasions along the line where my teeth and gums meet. I’ve changed my brushing habits, but the damage has been done. I am thinking about getting porcelain veneers to cover the damage, but I have some questions first.

If I decide to go with porcelain veneers, will the abrasions make the treated teeth prone to cavities and stains along the gumline?

Are your teeth underneath the veneers extra vulnerable to decay, because the enamel layer has been shaved off to place them?

How long do porcelain veneers go before they start to stain and discolor?

How much does it cost annually to maintain porcelain veneers, and are there any special procedures that are necessary?

Are there any foods or beverages that I won’t be able to have anymore if I get porcelain veneers?

I know these are a lot of questions, but I want to make sure I am making a smart choice.


Chloe in Elverta, CA

Dear Chloe,

The first thing we should discuss is what really may have caused the damage to your teeth along the gumline. For many years, many dental professionals thought it was overly aggressive brushing, but recent research has shown that the type of damage you describe is caused by biting stress (also known as bruxism). The teeth flex at the neck (where the tooth meets the gum) because of the pressure of the clenching and grinding, and that is what causes the “notches”.

Porcelain veneers would cover the damage, but your dentist should address any bruxism issue before placing them, or the lifespan of the veneers will be reduced. If the damage is not too severe, a really skilled cosmetic dentist may also be able to cover the damage with dental bonding.

Porcelain veneers are more stain resistant than your natural teeth, so you should not have to restrict your diet. If the porcelain veneers are well made, they should also serve to protect the underlying tooth from further decay or erosion. There are no special annual procedures necessary to maintain porcelain veneers, but you must always make sure your hygienist is aware that you have veneers so she does not use any abrasive toothpaste.

This blog post sponsored by the dental office of Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone.