We Are Open – Safety is Our Top Priority!
We’ve reopened in accordance with CDC, O.S.H.A., and State Dental Board guidelines to responsibly resume seeing our patients for regular dental appointments and treatment. We want to assure you of the measures we take to maintain a clean and safe environment so you can continue to receive needed dental care without fear or concern.
Posted on: November 2, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
The coronavirus has had a significant impact on our lives. One of the most unanticipated impacts was recently explored in an article in The New York Times. This article noted that in the early days of the shutdown, many dentists were reporting that patients were complaining of migraines, tooth sensitivity and jaw pain. In addition, once dental practices opened back up, many dentists saw an alarming increase in tooth fractures caused by their patients grinding and clenching their teeth.
What Are the Signs of Bruxism?
Clenching and grinding the teeth, also called bruxism, is a common condition that is caused by stress and anxiety. Other issues that contribute towards developing this problem are poor posture and a lack of sleep. While bruxism is common, most people aren’t even aware that they’ve been clenching or grinding their teeth until their dentist tells them.
This issue can cause extensive damage to your teeth if it is left unaddressed. It wears down the layers of enamel present on your teeth and can also impact the structure of your teeth. This makes it more likely that your teeth will become subject to decay and sensitivity. It can also cause you to experience headaches, disrupt your sleep and cause pain in your face, jaw and neck.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing bruxism. They are:
- Age: Young children are more likely to develop bruxism.
- Personality Type: Those who have more competitive, aggressive or hyperactive personalities are also more likely to grind and clench their teeth.
- Intense Emotions: Many individuals unconsciously grind or clench their teeth when they experience stress, anger or frustration.
- Certain Medications and Substances: Using tobacco, drinking caffeine or alcohol and specific psychiatric medications can cause you to grind and clench your teeth.
- Other Health Conditions: Bruxism is also found in individuals who have Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and sleep apnea.
Can You Give Me Advice on How to Stop Clenching My Teeth During the Day?
Daytime bruxism is often caused by feelings of stress, anxiety, tension, frustration and anger throughout your day. Engaging in stress-relief activities can assist you in reducing or preventing the clenching and grinding of your teeth. No matter what time of day you clench your teeth, you can perform the following steps to assist in your efforts to stop the behavior:
- Avoid smoking.
- Reduce your caffeine and alcohol consumption.
- Engage in relaxing activities such as meditating, going for a walk, taking a bath or listening to music.
Why Should I See a Dentist to Treat My Bruxism?
A dentist will be able to prescribe you a custom-fitted mouth guard to be worn when you are sleeping. This device will protect your teeth and relieve you of any pain or discomfort you’ve been feeling due to bruxism or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. Book an appointment with one of our caring dentists to find out if a custom-fitted night guard is the best treatment option for you.
Can You Give Me Information on Custom Night Guards?
Customized mouth guards are similar in appearance to teeth whitening trays. They are placed in the mouth and over the teeth so that the teeth are protected from grinding and clenching. Night guards don’t put a stop to bruxism, but they do shield your teeth from the damage caused by the condition. They also help you keep space in between your lower and upper teeth.
Why Do People Wear a Teeth Protector for Sleeping?
Custom-fitted night guards can prevent damage to the teeth and jaw, as well as to any dental restoration work that has been performed. They can also help reduce pain in the teeth and jaw.
What Do I Need to Know About Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?
The temporomandibular joint is the joint connecting the jaw and the skull. TMJ syndrome is a condition that affects the functioning of that joint or the other muscles in the jaw. Most people develop this syndrome due to injuries or bruxism. Symptoms are:
- Difficulty with chewing or opening the mouth
- A clicking or popping sound when moving the mouth
- Tenderness or pain in the jaw, face, neck, shoulders or ear
- A jaw that sometimes gets stuck or locked into position
- Sudden discomfort when biting
- Swelling along the side of the face
Can a Bruxism Night Guard Provide TMJ Pain Relief?
Utilizing a bruxism night guard can also relieve you of any pain you feel due to TMJ syndrome. This is because the night guard will shift your jaw and teeth into their proper positions. Wearing a night guard that fits properly will relieve you of pain, jaw tension, headaches and other symptoms of TMJ syndrome.
Why Do I Need a Mouth Guard for Jaw Clenching?
Leaving bruxism untreated can lead to a host of serious dental issues down the road. The long-term effects of grinding and clenching your teeth can be incredibly expensive and painful to treat.
It is possible to buy over-the-counter mouth guards. However, we recommend that you see a professional in order to have a device custom-fitted for you. This is because a custom fit will ensure that your jaw is properly aligned, is more comfortable to wear and less likely to fall out while you’re sleeping and will last longer because it will be made out of higher quality materials.
How Can I Get a Custom Mouth Guard?
Your dentist will need to determine if this is a treatment option that will work well for you. If it is, he or she will take an impression of your teeth. This will be used to make a mold that will be the basis of your new night guard. Once the durable plastic guard is constructed in the lab, you will come back to your dentist’s office so that he or she can determine if it fits properly. You will then wear your night guard whenever you sleep. While it may feel a bit strange at first, you will find that you soon grow used to wearing the device.
What Can I Expect to Pay for a Bruxism Night Guard?
You will be given an estimate of the cost of your night guard once your dentist has determined what kind of materials and specifications need to be utilized in constructing your appliance. Your insurance may cover some or all of the costs.
If you’ve been suffering from the impact of clenching and grinding your teeth, call Long Wharf Dental Group today. We will help you book an appointment to see one of our dentists as soon as possible.