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Posted on: January 25, 2021
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
One of the unanticipated side-effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been the uptick in bruxism cases that dentists across the country have encountered. Many dentists have had patients come into their practices complaining of issues like migraines, tooth sensitivity, jaw pain and tooth fractures. These dentists are finding that bruxism is the primary cause of these issues. Bruxism is a condition where you grind and clench your teeth and jaw. It is caused by stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and poor posture. All of these things have been increasingly common throughout the global shutdowns caused by the coronavirus.
How Do I Know If I Have Bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term utilized by dental professionals to describe the action of grinding and clenching the teeth and jaw. Clenching involves biting down with force for excessive periods of time, while grinding involves excessively moving the jaw back and forth while the teeth rub together. It’s a common condition occurring while people sleep or experience intense emotions.
Bruxism damages the structure and enamel of your teeth, leading to an increased risk of decay and other dental issues. It leads to pain in the mouth, jaw, neck and face, as well as sleep disruptions and headaches.
Experts have found that there are some factors that place you at a higher risk of developing this condition. These factors are:
- Age: Clenching and grinding the teeth is more common in children.
- Personality Type: Those with more aggressive, competitive and hyperactive personalities tend to develop this condition.
- Intense Emotions: Experiencing strong emotions like anxiety, anger, stress or frustration can lead to the unconscious grinding of the teeth.
- Taking Certain Medications and Substances: You may be at a higher risk of developing bruxism if you use tobacco, take certain psychiatric medications or drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Other Health Conditions: Teeth grinding has also been associated with health conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
How Can I Prevent Myself From Clenching My Teeth During the Day?
Some people grind and clench their teeth during the day as well. While it is unknown what exactly causes this behavior, many experts believe that it caused by a combination of psychological, physical and genetic factors. To prevent grinding your teeth during the day and night, consider utilizing the following tips:
- Don’t smoke before bed; in fact, it’s best if you don’t smoke at all.
- Don’t drink excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol.
- Engage in relaxing activities like meditating, going for walks, taking baths and listening to calming music.
How Your Local Dentist Can Help
Seeing a dentist for your bruxism will help you to receive treatment that will relieve you of pain and discomfort, as well as prevent excessive damage from occurring to your teeth and jaw. Many people with bruxism are prescribed night guards that they wear while they sleep. These devices cushion your teeth from the consequences of grinding and clenching, but they do not stop you from clenching or grinding. They can also help relieve you of any temporomandibular joint pain you are experiencing. Schedule a consultation with one of our dentists if you’d like to learn more about how we can effectively treat your bruxism problem.
What Is a Custom Night Guard?
Custom bruxism night guards are designed to be worn over your teeth so that the teeth are protected from becoming damaged while you clench or grind them. These appliances are also called occlusal guards, occlusal splints and bite splints. It’s important to note that night guards don’t stop you from grinding and clenching, they just keep the teeth safe from damage.
Why Do Some People Need to Wear a Night Guard While They Sleep?
Dentists regularly prescribe night guards to be worn in order to prevent morning headaches and TMJ jaw pain. They are also prescribed to prevent damage from occurring to the teeth, jaw, crowns or other dental restoration work.
What Do I Need to Know About Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?
The temporomandibular joint is what connects the jaw to the skull. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a condition that impacts the way that the joint or the jaw muscles work. Jaw injuries and bruxism are the most common causes of TMJ syndrome. Symptoms of this syndrome are:
- Sudden discomfort in your bite
- Pain your face, jaw, neck, shoulders or ears
- Difficulty chewing or opening the mouth wide
- Popping or clicking when opening and closing the mouth
- Swelling in the side of the face
Will a Custom Mouth Guard Offer Me TMJ Pain Relief?
Mouth guards are an affordable, convenient and non-invasive method of treatment for bruxism and TMJ syndrome. Wearing a properly fitted protector for your mouth will keep your teeth and jaw aligned properly, alleviating the symptoms that you may be experiencing from TMJ syndrome.
Can You Tell Me Why I Need to Wear a Mouth Guard for Jaw Clenching?
The damage done to the teeth and jaw from bruxism can lead to expensive dental issues such as root canals. If you don’t wear a mouth guard to prevent that damage, you find yourself spending more time and money at the dentist’s office than you want to. You will also find yourself in a great deal of discomfort and pain.
Over-the-counter night guards are available for purchase online or at local drug stores. However, we highly recommend that you receive a custom-fitted mouth guard from one of our professional dentists. That’s because:
- A custom-fitted device will help align your jaw properly, helping you to get rid of pain and discomfort associated with TMJ syndrome.
- A custom-fitted mouth guard will fit better, feel more comfortable and stay in your mouth while you’re sleeping.
- A custom-fitted night guard will last longer because it will be created from high quality materials.
The Process for Receiving a Custom Night Guard
You will visit your dentist to have an impression of your teeth taken. This impression will be utilized to create a mold that will be sent off to a lab where your custom-fitted night guard will be created using durable plastic materials. Once your dentist has ensured that everything fits, you will wear your mouth guard whenever you sleep.
Are Bruxism Mouth Guards Affordable?
Bruxism mouth guards are certainly more affordable than paying for treatments associated with the damage that can be caused by bruxism. The amount you will have to pay for your mouth guard will depend on the materials and specifications used to make your appliance. Check with your dental insurance company to see what kind of coverage they offer.
To book a consultation with one of our dentists, contact Orange Avenue Dentistry today. We look forward to helping you determine the best course of action for your bruxism or TMJ pain.