Most people rub and grind their teeth. Some do it by day, others at night. An overload can cause symptoms such as aching in the back, shoulders, head, ear, as well as muscle pain, tenderness of the teeth and jaw joints, difficult to gape or close the mouth, jaw joint sounds and lockouts. Tooth necks can be exposed, teeth wear down and fillings can be destroyed. Even the bone around the teeth can dissolve.
Some are aware of their bad habit of grinding their teeth, but most are not aware of the overload that is exposed on the mouth and face. An experienced dentist usually sees the early signs of this overload. Teeth regularly rub against each other, getting polished surfaces much like a rough stone is polished smooth by the sea. The dentist can sometimes feel certain jaw muscles and tendons to complement the diagnosis. The signs of overload are usually very clear.
The abrasive surface of the teeth are often places where the patient is not expecting it, usually because the patients tend to grind their teeth at night when one is not aware of it, but some grind their teeth day and night.
When the dentist lift the lower jaw and chin forward on the patient, the patient will find the position feeling strained and abnormal. "I never do this", is a common comment.
The biggest damages happen in the long run
A tooth consists of durable layer of enamel. Under enamel we find dentine, which is softer. When enamel disappears, the dentine is exposed, which usually results in quicker degradation of the teeth. The patient will most likely not notice this until later in their life when the bite sinks slowly together, and it becomes more difficult for the dentist to recreate the function and appearance. The wear typically happens slowly but there are several factors important for the speed of this process.
Tension in the face region can also cause quite different pain conditions, such as headaches and tension in the neck and shoulders.