What happens if you grind your teeth too much

  • Thirty to 40 million Americans grind their teeth at night. Chronic grinding is known as bruxism in the medical community.
  • Every time you grind your teeth, you’re exerting as much as 200 pounds of pressure per square inch.
  • All that pressure isn’t good for your teeth and can eventually lead to damage that requires root canals, implants, or dentures.
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Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Thirty to 40 million Americans grind their teeth at night. That’s roughly 10% of the US population, and chronic teeth grinding can lead to painful issues from tooth fractures to changes in facial appearance. But the worst part is you could be a teeth grinder and not even know it.

Every time a grinder gnashes their back molars together, they exert as much as 200 pounds of pressure per square inch. That’s 10 times the force you exert on your teeth when you chew normally. This pressure can crack and fracture teeth and eventually even wear them down to stumps, which can then require root canals, implants, or dentures. But it’s not just your teeth that take a beating.

If you suffer from chronic grinding, also called bruxism in the medical community, you could be grinding your teeth for up to 40 minutes for every hour you’re asleep. That’s enough to cause headaches and a sore jaw in the morning, and if you keep it up night after night, it could permanently damage your jaw. Researchers estimate that 20% of teeth grinders have symptoms of a painful jaw condition called TMD. TMD affects the movement of your temporomandibular joints. These joints connect your jaw to your skull, helping you eat, chew, and talk. But when you grind your teeth incessantly, you can overwork these joints.

One study found that when these muscles work overtime, they become tender and enlarged, making your face look more square and masculine. What’s more, the sound of grinding teeth could be enough to damage your hearing. Researchers who examined 400 university students found a strong correlation between grinding and tinnitus. Tinnitus is a hearing condition that causes ringing in your ears and can lead to hearing loss.

But perhaps the scariest part of all of this, unless your roommate or a partner hears you grinding your teeth at night, you might not even realize you’re doing it until your dentist notices the damage. And chances are, you’ve probably done it yourself. An estimated 85 to 90% of the population will grind or clench their teeth to some degree. And while there’s no simple cure for bruxism, there’s still hope. A mouth guard, for instance, won’t stop you from grinding altogether, but it will stop your molars from wearing your teeth down to stumps. And since grinding is often caused by stress and anxiety, some doctors recommend counseling and meditation. So maybe a solution to your teeth-grinding problem is a nice long vacation. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.

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A Marine got a new jaw made out of a chunk of his own leg bone

Marine jaw denture dentist surgery
A patient’s prosthetic denture and oral cavity are inspected about six weeks after jaw replacement surgery December 29, 2020.

  • A Marine in California underwent a new kind of surgery to replace a benign tumor in his jaw using a reconstructed jaw made out of one of his leg bones and with 3D-printed teeth.
  • Previously, such a surgery would take multiple surgeries and years of recovery, but those new techniques and technology mean the Marine will return to duty after just one surgery and a few months of recovery.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A lucky Marine made military medical history by becoming the first service member to receive a reconstructed jaw made out of one of his leg bones, complete with 3D-printed teeth, all in one surgery.

Lance Cpl. Jaden Murry, assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 7 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, was diagnosed with an aggressive but benign tumor in his lower jaw about a year ago.

Usually, it would take multiple surgeries and years of recovery to come back from that, but new techniques and technology mean that Murry will return to duty after just one surgery and a few months of recovery.

“In terms of actual downtime away from his unit, we’re expecting Murry to be out for only eight to 10 weeks, compared to years with the previous reconstructive techniques,” said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Hammer, the surgeon who performed the procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego on November 18, according to a recent press release. “That’s a tiny amount of time when compared to the magnitude of the procedure.”

The procedure is truly incredible, as it involved two surgeries at the same time. One surgical team worked on removing Murry’s tumor-stricken lower jaw while another cut out a section of the Marine’s fibula, the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg, and reshaped it to form a replacement lower jaw.

“Basically, I’m going to assemble a new lower jaw while the bone is still receiving its blood supply from the leg,” Hammer said in a November press release before the surgery. “We’ll then fully remove it, and transplant it into ready and waiting blood vessels in the head and neck, specifically into branches of the carotid artery and the jugular vein.”

The sutures they used to attach the new jaw to the existing blood vessels at the head and neck are about half the thickness of a human hair, Hammer explained.

Reshaping a leg bone into a jaw is crazy enough, but the surgery was also unique in that the surgeons crowned the new jaw with 3D-printed teeth designed right there at NMCSD. Even more extraordinary, the surgeons left enough of Murry’s fibula in his leg so that once he fully recovers he will have no restrictions on movement and exercise.

“He’s a young Marine,” Hammer said. “[The ability to] exercise and move around is huge for his readiness, rehabilitation and morale.”

Marine jaw denture dentist surgery
Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Hammer, left, and Lt. Justin Odette, inspect a patient’s prosthetic denture about six weeks after jaw replacement surgery, December 29, 2020.

The procedure is the first of its kind to be performed in California and the Department of Defense and is one of the first to be performed in the US. But why was it necessary to harvest the fibula and remove the lower jaw at the same time?

Hammer explained that it was a safer and more efficient option: The more time a patient spends under anesthesia, the great the likelihood that complications can occur, he said. Plus, fewer surgeries mean that Murry has more time to recover and fewer traumas to recover from.

“Through collaboration with multiple surgeons and the knowledge obtained in my training, we can forever change a person’s life for the better in just one day,” Hammer said. “In terms of psychosocial damage and military readiness, there’s no question that the immediate jaw reconstruction procedure is better in every aspect versus the antiquated approach.”

It also helps to have a patient with a great attitude. Murry said he never felt too nervous, because he trusted the hands of his surgical team.

“Even though I hadn’t been in a hospital since I was three, I knew I was in good hands,” the Marine said. “I had to put all of my faith and hopes in the hands of strangers. I had to trust them all.”

He also relied on his mother and grandfather to ask insightful questions about the procedure and keep him calm throughout the process.

“My mother called [NMCSD surgeon Lt. Justine Odette] with questions that I wouldn’t have thought to ask, and my grandfather assured me that everything was going to be alright,” said Murry. “He calmed me down and put my mind at ease. [Odette] and Dr. Hammer have been very good at passing information to me and my family.”

The surgery took place on November 18, and Murry’s recovery has been smooth sailing since then. Within a week of the surgery, the team removed his tracheostomy tube, which is placed in a hole in the patient’s neck to allow for breathing. Soon afterward, the Marine passed a swallow test, and he was back to speaking and eating without a feeding tube.

“To see him swallowing, speaking, walking and not using a tracheostomy tube one week post-surgery was a huge victory, both for [Murry] and for us,” Hammer said. “Even with an entirely new lower jaw, we were so confident in his ability to swallow, we removed his feeding tube immediately after [Murry] passed the swallow study.”

Of course, just because Murry is healing fast does not mean it has been easy.

“The first two weeks were difficult, and I was in a lot of pain,” he said. “I’ve been on a soft food diet of chicken noodle soup, baked beans and ramen noodles. I really look forward to getting back into a healthy mindset and working out, running and body building.

“Everything is going to heal, and healing is a process that won’t last forever,” he added.

Hammer credited his military medical training and the other health professionals on the NMCSD team for the smooth execution of the procedure. Other physicians include Odette, one of NMCSD’s Dental Department’s Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) chief residents; Cmdr. Yu Zhang, a maxillofacial prosthodontist assigned to NMCSD; Capt. Craig Salt, Cmdrs. Eamon O’Reilly and Yan Ortiz from Plastic Surgery; and Cmdr. Patrick Morrell, who led one of the surgical teams charged with the removal of the patient’s lower jaw. Murry also got help from NMCSD’s Intensive Care Unit, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Respiratory Therapy, Clinical Nutrition, Social Work, and Nursing teams.

The Marine will still have regular check-ups to make sure the new teeth are in good condition and the new bone is completely integrated into the jaw. But if everything goes expected, he’ll be completely healed, restriction-free, and able to solid food within six months.

When that happens, Murry said, pizza is most definitely on the menu.

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