Posted on: January 25, 2021
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
As the global impact of the coronavirus continues to be observed, one unanticipated side effect has been in the number of patients that dentists have seen complaining about migraines, jaw pain, tooth fractures and tooth sensitivity. What do all of these patients have in common? They have all be clenching and grinding their teeth more due to the stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and poor posture caused by having to work from home during the pandemic.
Can You Tell Me About Bruxism?
Clenching and grinding the teeth is known as bruxism in the dental and medical community. Grinding is the process of moving your jaw back and forth, while clenching is the process of excessively biting down for prolonged periods of time. This common condition generally happens while a patient is sleeping or under periods of intense stress.
Bruxism damages the tooth’s enamel and structure, making it more likely that decay and sensitivity will develop. In addition, it can lead to headaches, sleep disruptions and pain in the face, neck and jaw.
Some common factors associated with bruxism include:
- Age: This condition appears to be more common in children.
- Personality Type: Those who have more intense personality types and are more prone to aggression, hyperactivity and competitive behaviors may experience bruxism.
- Intense Emotions: Anyone experiencing intense periods of stress, anger or frustration may unconsciously grind his or her teeth.
- Certain Medications and Substances: People who drink lots of caffeine or alcohol, take certain psychiatric medications or use tobacco products are at a higher risk of bruxism.
- Other Health Conditions: Some of the health issues associated with bruxism include Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea, epilepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Tips to Stop Clenching Your Teeth During the Day
Bruxism can occur anytime during the day or night. To help prevent excessive damage from occurring to your teeth, you should engage in the following behaviors:
- Don’t smoke. If you have to, try to avoid doing so before bedtime.
- Avoid consuming large quantities of alcohol or caffeine.
- Take part in activities that you find relaxing. These can include meditation, walking, baths or listening to soothing music.
How Can a Local Dentist Help?
If you’ve been suffering from symptoms associated with bruxism or TMJ pain, you’re in luck. Our dentists have plenty of experience dealing with these common issues. A custom night guard may be the proper treatment option for you. Wearing one of these appliances will assist in protecting your teeth whenever you clench or grind them. Book a consultation with one of our caring dentists today so that you can find out if this treatment option is right for you.
Is a Custom Night Guard Right for Me?
Custom night guards are also referred to as bite splints, occlusal splints or occlusal guards. They are worn over the teeth and while they don’t stop you from engaging in bruxism, it does prevent damage from occurring to your teeth and jaw while you clench and grind the teeth.
Wearing a Tooth Protector While Sleeping
People who have to wear a night guard while they sleep typically do so in order to prevent TMJ pain and morning headaches. They are frequently prescribed when a dentist wants to prevent damage from occurring to the teeth, jaw, crowns and other dental restoration work.
What Can You Tell Me About Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a condition that affects the way that the muscles of the jaw or temporomandibular joint (the joint that connects the skull to the jaw) function. People frequently develop this condition due to bruxism or injuries to the jaw. Some of the symptoms of TMJ syndrome are:
- Facial, jaw, neck, shoulder or ear pain and tenderness
- Problems chewing or widely opening up the mouth
- A clicking or popping noise when the mouth is opened or closed
- A jaw that appears to get locked or stuck
- Swelling in the face
- A bite that is suddenly uncomfortable
How a Mouth Guard Can Help with TMJ Pain
Since bruxism mouth guards create space between the jaw and teeth and assists in keeping them in their proper positions, it is an effective treatment in relieving pain from TMJ syndrome. While there are other treatment options for both bruxism and TMJ syndrome, mouth guards are more affordable, convenient and are also non-invasive.
The Importance of Wearing a Mouth Guard for Jaw Clenching
Ignoring bruxism can lead to expensive oral health issues. One of the leading causes of root canals is bruxism. The damage done to the teeth leads to an increased risk of decay, leading to infections and the necessity of a root canal procedure. In addition to this, it can also cause patients a considerable amount of discomfort and pain.
While you may be tempted to purchase an over-the-counter mouth guard, we believe it’s important to pay a little extra in order to get a custom-fitted one. This is due to the following facts:
- Receiving a custom-fitted guard will ensure that the jaw remains properly aligned, thus assisting in relieving pain associated with TMJ syndrome.
- Getting a custom-fitted guard will ensure that it fits properly. It will feel more comfortable and it won’t fall out while you’re asleep.
- Ordering a custom-fitted night guard will ensure that it lasts longer. That’s because the materials used in constructing one will be better than those used in over-the-counter versions.
What Is the Process for Getting a Custom Night Guard?
After your consultation, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth. This impression will then be turned into a mold that will be sent off to a lab. The lab will create your mouth guard from this mold. Once the dentist has received your night guard from the lab, you will be fitted once again. You will then be able to wear your night guard while you sleep.
The Price of Bruxism Mouth Guards
We will always provide you with an estimate of what your mouth guard will cost. Your bill will take into account the specifications and materials used to construct your night guard. Check with your dental insurance provider to see what kind of coverage is available to you for this treatment.
If you’ve been clenching and grinding your teeth, it’s time to receive treatment so that you can reduce the amount of damage being done to your teeth and jaw. Contact Thurm Dental Group as soon as possible to schedule a consultation.