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Posted on: October 29, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
Dentists are staring to see more patients with teeth grinding-related fractures than ever before. When the American Dental Association recommended dentists only see emergencies, people missed their routine six-month exams. Now dentists have all the tools they need to see patients safely, but some people have already damaged their teeth because their dentist didn’t have time to catch the signs they were grinding their teeth.
Most people don’t know prolonged stress from COVID-19 is causing them to grind their teeth at night, but stress is a major reason for teeth grinding. No matter what a person’s circumstances were at the beginning of the pandemic, they will have something to worry about, whether it is the economy, their friend’s and family’s health or social isolation.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is simply the medical name for teeth grinding at jaw clenching, which usually happens at night. Most people are not aware they do while they sleep unless someone tells them about grinding noises they make in their sleep. Dentists also notice if their patients grind their teeth during routine exams. When patients come in with cracked teeth, broken fillings or fractured crowns, dentists suspect bruxism in the absence of other problems, since everyone’s stress levels are so high. While there are a number of reasons people develop bruxism, the main reason is daytime stress and anxiety.
- People most likely to develop bruxism include:
- Stressed or anxious individuals
- Anyone who has a family history of bruxism
- Those with obstructive sleep apnea or other conditions, including epilepsy and ADHD
- People on specific psychiatric medications
- Young persons- bruxism is rare in senior citizens
Can a Person Have Daytime Bruxism?
Yes, although it is not as common. You may clench your teeth during the day during periods of intense stress, concentration or frustration, but once you know you’re doing this, you can make an effort to stop. Tips to help you stop include:
- Making it a point to relax all of your facial muscles when you start to feel stress
- Limit caffeinated beverages
- Take time out to practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, exercise. listening to soft music, etc.
How Do Dentists Help?
Besides repairing the issues from teeth grinding, dentist can help by preventing damage by designing a custom night guard for their patients. They can also recognize bruxism symptoms and encourage you to deal with the anxiety or stress you feel in a constructive way.
What Are Made-to-Order Night Guards?
Unlike night guards you can buy online or at a local store, made-to-order night guards are designed specifically for you. They fit perfectly, making you more likely to wear the night guard every night. It costs more to get a custom guard from your dentist, but it provides more protection for your teeth and it will last longer.
Why Is it Important for Someone with Bruxism to Wear a Night Guard?
Night guards mitigate the pain and tooth wear from long-term clenching and grinding. Along with stress reduction techniques, night guards, also known as mouth splints, can give a person more restful sleep and help them feel better upon waking. If you would like to try this treatment, please call our office for a consultation.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome?
Temporomandibular joint syndrome affects the joints of the jaw. These two joints allow you to move your lower jaw up and down and back and forth. TMJ syndrome, which can occur for a variety of reasons, including trauma or bruxism, is an issue affecting the joints or the ligaments and muscles surrounding them. Signs of TMJ syndrome may include:
- General jaw pain or soreness
- Facial pain
- Pain near the ears
- Trouble opening your mouth fully
- Painful chewing
- Clicking noises when you open your jaw
- A bite change
Can I Get Relief from TMJ Issues from a Bruxism Night Guard?
Yes, a bruxism night guard made by a dentist and personalized for you can help with minor jaw misalignment and relieve the excess pressure jaw clenching and grinding puts on your temporomandibular joints. It is one of the fastest ways to reduce TMJ syndrome symptoms from affecting your waking hours.
Why Are Night Guards Important for Individuals with Bruxism?
If you grind your teeth at night or clench your jaw, you can harm your teeth, along with giving yourself headaches and jaw pain. Your jaws can exert incredible pressure, enough to wear the enamel off your teeth, and enamel is one of the hardest substances in your body. Custom-fitted night guards from your dentist are the most durable and longest lasting, since they are made from the highest quality materials. They are definitely worth the extra cost compared to a night guard you can buy at your local drugstore.
How Do I Get a Tailor-Made Night Guard?
At Taheri Dental Group, one of our experienced dentists can create a made-to-order night guard for you if it’s an appropriate treatment for you. Please call to arrange an exam and your dentist will go over your needs with you. He or she will take an impression of your mouth for the lab we use. They will create a mold and make a night guard just for you, so it will fit exactly right. Please call us for an exam to get the process started.
Are Custom-Made Night Guards Affordable?
We base your cost on the type of night guard you need and the material it will be made from. Your dentist will help you select the best option, taking into account the severity of your bruxism. A personalized night guard is an investment which protects your natural teeth and porcelain crowns and veneers, which are expensive to replace. One of our dentists can estimate your cost if you call for an appointment and have an exam. Check your dental insurance policy, it may cover your night guard.
At Taheri Dental Group, we strive to keep our patients free from the damaging effects of bruxism. We look for signs of bruxism to see if stress from the current pandemic is causing our patients to grind their teeth while they are sleeping. We can also fix fractured teeth, fillings and other restorations which long-term bruxism causes. Please call us today if you have a bruxism-related dental issue or if you show any signs of jaw clenching or teeth grinding.