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Posted on: January 25, 2021
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
In an article published in a recent issue of The New York Times, a dentist stated that he was seeing an increase in the number of patients experiencing migraines, tooth sensitivity, jaw pain and tooth fractures due to the stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. These issues were all caused by clenching and grinding the teeth, also known as bruxism. This condition is caused by stress, anxiety, poor sleep habits and poor posture.
The Damage Caused by Bruxism
Grinding is an action that consists of moving the jaw back and forth. Clenching is an action consisting of biting down forcefully for prolonged periods of time. Together, these actions are known medically as bruxism. This is a common condition that many people engage in during sleep or periods of intense emotion.
The damage caused by bruxism can be rather extensive. It wears down the structure and enamel of the teeth, leading to an increased risk of cavities and tooth sensitivity. In addition, it also leads to headaches and disrupted sleep cycles. It can also cause significant amounts of pain in the jaw, face and neck.
There are certain factors that can increase your risks of developing bruxism. They include:
- Age: Young children commonly grind and clench their teeth.
- Personality Type: If you are a person who has a more competitive, aggressive or hyperactive personality, you are at a higher risk of having this condition.
- Intense Emotions: People who are experiencing periods of intense emotions like anxiety, stress, anger or frustration also grind their teeth more often.
- Certain Medications and Substances: Taking certain psychiatric medications, using tobacco substances and consuming caffeine and alcohol can increase your risk of developing bruxism.
- Other Health Conditions: Patients who have Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and epilepsy are also at an increased risk.
How Do I Stop Clenching My Teeth?
Bruxism can happen during the day as well. If you’ve been clenching your teeth during the day or night, it’s probably due to genetic, physical and psychological factors. Here are some things you can do to stop clenching your teeth as much:
- Avoid smoking, especially before you go to bed.
- Don’t drink a lot of alcohol or caffeine.
- Engage in relaxing activities like meditation, listening to gentle music, taking baths and going for walks.
Where Can I Receive Treatment for Bruxism?
Your local dentist can treat you for bruxism. If you’ve been told that you are grinding or clenching your teeth in your sleep, you may need to wear a custom-fitted night guard. This device will shield your teeth from the damage caused by bruxism. It will also assist in relieving you of any pain you are feeling from your temporomandibular joint. Book a consultation with one of our compassionate dental care providers to find out more about how you can be treated for bruxism or TMJ syndrome.
Treating Bruxism with Custom Night Guards
Bruxism is commonly treated via the use of custom-fitted night guards (also known as occlusal splints, occlusal guards or bite splints). These appliances fit over your teeth. They don’t stop you from clenching or grinding, but they provide a cushion for your teeth so that they aren’t damaged by you doing so. They also re-establish the space that is supposed to be present between your upper and lower teeth, leading to a reduction in TMJ pain.
How Does Wearing a Night Guard Help?
Wearing a night guard will prevent you from waking up in the morning with a headache or with TMJ jaw pain. In addition, it will keep damage from occurring to your teeth, jaw, crowns and other dental restoration work that you have had done.
How to Know If You Have Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome
Also known as TMJ syndrome, temporomandibular joint syndrome impacts the functioning of the jaw muscles and of the joint that attaches the skull to the jaw. It is usually caused by bruxism or jaw injuries. Common symptoms of TMJ syndrome are:
- Feeling pain or tenderness in your face, jaw, neck, shoulders or around your ears
- Having difficulty chewing or opening your mouth up wide
- Hearing a popping or clicking sound whenever you open or close your mouth
- Having a jaw that seems to be stuck or locked within a position
- Swelling along the side of your face
- Experiencing a suddenly uncomfortable bite
Using Bruxism Mouth Guards to Treat TMJ Jaw Pain
Bruxism mouth guards are also utilized in treating TMJ syndrome. A custom night guard is an affordable, convenient and non-invasive option for treatment. It assists in shifting the jaw back into alignment, alleviating tension, headaches, pain and other symptoms associated with TMJ syndrome.
The Benefits of Wearing a Mouth Guard for Jaw Clenching
If you wear your mouth guard every night, you will prevent your teeth from becoming extensively damaged. Bruxism is one of the primary causes of patients having to undergo root canal surgeries. This is because the wear and tear caused to the teeth puts you at an increased risk of developing tooth decay and infections.
While you may want to save money and get an over-the-counter version of a night guard, we believe that it’s best to get a custom-fitted one from our dentist.
- A custom device helps relieve TMJ pain because it puts your jaw within its proper alignment.
- A custom mouth guard is more comfortable and won’t fall out at night.
- A custom night guard will fit your mouth properly.
- A custom night guard is made from higher quality materials and will last longer.
What Is the Process Like for Receiving a Custom Night Guard?
If you’re prescribed a night guard, your dentist will create a mold from an impression of your teeth. This mold will be sent away to a lab, where your mouth guard will be constructed with high quality and durable plastic materials. You will go for a final fitting once the mouth guard arrives. Then, you will need to wear your night guard whenever you sleep.
How Much Does a Custom Night Guard Cost?
Your mouth guard cost will vary depending on the specifications and materials used to create the device. Many insurance companies provide partial or complete coverage for mouth guards. Contact your provider to see what kind of coverage you are entitled to.
To rid yourself of pain and discomfort associated with bruxism and TMJ syndrome, contact the compassionate staff at Town Center Dental. We will help you to book your first appointment with one of our friendly and professional dentists.