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Posted on: November 2, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
As people around the world deal with stress caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, dentists are finding that there may be an unexpected side effect associated with the shutdowns caused by the virus. In a recent article published in The New York Times, a dentist reported that there had been a significant increase in the number of people coming to the office due to cracked teeth, headaches, jaw pain and tooth sensitivity. These problems were all caused by patients clenching and grinding their teeth, a condition that is known as bruxism.
What Does Bruxism Mean?
Grinding the teeth refers to the movement of the jaw going back and forth, while clenching the teeth refers to biting down forcefully for a long period of time. The medical term for this issue is bruxism. While this issue is relatively common, you probably may not be aware that you do it until your dentist or your sleep partner tell you. This condition commonly occurs in periods of stress and usually happens while you are asleep.
Grinding your teeth in this manner can cause you to wear down your teeth, making them more prone to tooth decay and sensitivity. Bruxism can cause a range of symptoms like headaches, sleep disruptions and pains in your face, jaw and neck.
Here are some of the factors that may put you at a higher risk of having bruxism:
- Age: This condition is commonly found in younger children.
- Personality Type: Bruxism tends to be more common in individuals with naturally competitive, aggressive or hyperactive personalities.
- Intense Emotions: People who are under significant amounts of stress or who feel angry or frustrated are more likely to have grind or clench their teeth.
- Certain Medications and Substances: If you use tobacco, drink alcohol or caffeine or take specific psychiatric medications, you could be at a higher risk of developing bruxism.
- Other Health Conditions: Bruxism is frequently found alongside conditions like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, sleep apnea, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
What Should I Do to Stop Clenching My Teeth During the Day?
If you’ve found that you are clenching your teeth during the day due to stress, anger, frustration, anxiety or tension, you should try your best to reduce the amounts of stress and other intense emotions that you are feeling. Anyone who struggles with bruxism (whether it be day or night) should utilize the following steps to lessen teeth clenching and grinding:
- Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Quit smoking, but if you must continue, you should not do it before going to bed.
- Use relaxation techniques such as listening to relaxing music, going for a walk, meditating and taking a hot bath.
Can a Dentist Help?
A dentist is the best person to see when you are suffering from bruxism. Your dentist will be able to tell if a custom-fitted night guard is the best way to address your issues. A mouth guard worn for teeth and jaw grinding will keep your teeth from becoming excessively worn down. It will also relieve you of any joint pain you feel due to TMJ syndrome. To learn more about how a night guard can help you, book an appointment with one of our compassionate dentists today.
What Should I Know About Custom Night Guards?
These oral appliances sit over your teeth and help to shield them when you clench your jaw or grind your teeth. While custom-fitted mouth guards don’t prevent you from clenching or grinding, they do keep your teeth from wearing down while also ensuring that the space existing between the upper and lower teeth is maintained properly.
Why Do I Need to Wear a Teeth Protector When I Sleep?
Wearing a mouth guard while you sleep not only prevents damage to your teeth and jaw, but it also ensures that any restorative dental work you’ve had done is not damaged due to your bruxism. In addition, mouth guards can help alleviate morning headaches and symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
How Do I Know If I Have TMJ Syndrome?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome affects the proper functioning of the jaw muscles and the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. This condition is generally caused by bruxism and injuries to the jaw. You may have TMJ syndrome if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Tenderness or pain in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders or around the ear
- Not being able to chew well or open your mouth wide
- A clicking or popping sound when you open and close your mouth
- A jaw that appears to become stuck
- Swelling of the face
- A sudden uncomfortable bite
Can a Bruxism Mouth Guard Provide Jaw Pain Relief?
While there are many different treatment options available for both bruxism and TMJ syndrome, a night guard is one of the most affordable, convenient and non-invasive treatment options available. Wearing a custom-fitted mouth guard will keep your jaw and teeth in alignment, which helps to relieve you of symptoms like jaw tension, pain and headaches.
Why Is it Important to Utilize a Mouth Guard for Jaw Clenching?
Not utilizing a mouth guard while you sleep can lead to serious dental repercussions that can be both painful and expensive to treat. This is because grinding and clenching can wear the teeth down so much that cavities are more likely to form. It can also lead to significant pain in your jaw muscles.
You can purchase over-the-counter options, but they won’t be as effective as a professionally fitted mouth guard. A custom-fitted device ensures many benefits, including the following:
- Your jaw is in proper alignment.
- Your night guard is fitted to provide maximum comfortable.
- Your night guard won’t fall out at night.
- Your night guard will last longer since it will be fabricated out of higher quality materials.
How Do I Get a Custom Night Guard?
After examining your mouth, your dentist will determine if a bruxism night guard is right for you. He or she will take an impression of your teeth, which will then be turned into a mold that will be sent away so that your appliance can be constructed with heavy, durable plastic. Once your custom night guard arrives back at your dentist’s office, he or she will ensure that it fits properly. You will then wear your night guard whenever you sleep.
How Much Are Bruxism Night Guards?
The cost of a custom-fitted night guard is typically much less than the cost of treating issues caused by bruxism. Your dentist will provide you with an estimate that will be based on the materials and specifications used to construct your night guard. You may wish to check with your dental insurance company to see if they provide you with any coverage for these devices.
To learn more about how Miami Center for Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry can assist you in treating your bruxism or TMJ syndrome symptoms, contact us to schedule a consultation.