DENTIN vs. ENAMEL
In a continuation of the subject of teeth grinding (what we technically refer to as bruxism) let’s explore some other facts.
There is a very good reason why we are concerned in dentistry about bruxism. In normal chewing a human exerts about 150-165 pounds teeth per square inch on their teeth. When humans grind their teeth while sleeping, the forces goes up to as much as 900-1000 PSI! This destructive force is generally manifested in 1 to 3 possible ways. 1. Severely worn teeth 2. Loose teeth or 3. Jaw joint disorders.
Another complicating factor is enamel vs. dentin. A tooth has 3 layers – the enamel, (what you see), the dentin and in the middle of the tooth is the pulp. The pulp is where the nerve and blood supply are. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is 7 x harder then dentin. Once you have ground away the enamel into the dentin, the destructive forces from the grinding are going to accelerate the wear of your teeth 7 x faster! Sometimes it causes nerve damage resulting in root canals. What is evolving here is a habit that can destroy the human dentition in some patients.
Next month, I’ll discuss bruxism as it relates to our sleep cycles.