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(734) 329-5284

Gentle Dental of Westland
825 S Wayne Road, Westland, MI 48186

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Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?

In a recent article published by The New York Times, a dentist reported that many patients were coming into the office with complaints of migraines, tooth sensitivity and jaw pain throughout the early days of the coronavirus shutdown. In addition, this dentist noticed that there were a large number of patients coming in with tooth fractures caused by clenching and grinding the teeth. This problem, referred to as bruxism, is caused by stress and anxiety. It can also be caused by lack of sleep and poor posture. All of these problems have become more likely to occur due to people working from home during the pandemic.

What Do I Need to Know About Bruxism?

The medical term for grinding and clenching the teeth and jaws is bruxism. Grinding happens when the jaw moves back and forth, while clenching happens when biting down forcefully for extended periods of time. Bruxism is an incredibly common condition and generally happens while people sleep or when they are enduring periods of stress. Most patients don’t know that they grind their teeth until their dentist finds evidence of it during an examination.

This continuous grinding of the teeth can cause an immense amount of damage to both the enamel and the structure of the teeth. This leads to increased sensitivity and tooth decay. It also leads headaches, the disruption of your sleep and cause pain in your face, jaw and neck.

The following factors may place you at a higher risk of developing issues with bruxism:

  • Age: Bruxism is more likely to occur in young children.
  • Personality Type: Those who are naturally predisposed to being competitive, aggressive or hyperactive are likely to experience this issue.
  • Intense Emotions: If you’re under a great deal of stress or feel angry or frustrated, you are more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Certain Medications and Substances: Using tobacco, drinking alcohol or caffeine and certain kinds of psychiatric medications can also increase your risk of bruxism.
  • Other Health Conditions: Other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and epilepsy are also associated with this problem.

How Can I Stop Clenching My Teeth During the Day?

No one is sure of what the exact cause of bruxism is; it could be caused by genetic, psychological and physical factors. If you have daytime bruxism, it could be due to intense emotions like anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or tension. There are steps that you can take in order to lessen the amount of teeth clenching and grinding you do during the day and night. These steps include:

  • Not smoking, especially before bed.
  • Limiting the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume.
  • Utilizing relaxation techniques whenever you are stressed out, as well as before bedtime. These techniques can include taking hot baths, going for walks, listening to calming music or meditation.

How Can Our Office Help?

If you’ve been clenching or grinding your teeth and have been experiencing headaches or jaw pain because of it, you may need a custom night guard. Wearing one of these devices can assist in protecting your teeth from excessive wear, as well as provide relief from any pain you’ve been feeling from TMJ. To discover whether or not a mouth guard is right for you, schedule an appointment with one of our dental professionals.

Can You Tell Me About Custom Night Guards?

Night guards are similar in appearance to the trays that are utilized in teeth whitening. They sit over the teeth and help to keep them protected from clenching and grinding. Teeth protectors don’t typically stop you from clenching and grinding, they are just there to shield and cushion your teeth from the consequences of those actions. It also helps to keep the proper amount of space between your upper and lower teeth.

Why Does My Dentist Want Me to Wear a Night Guard When I Sleep?

Your dentist may wish for you to wear a night guard in order to help you in preventing morning headaches and for jaw pain relief. In addition, he or she may wish you to wear one to prevent your teeth, crowns, jaw and other dental restorations from becoming damaged.

What Is Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?

Temporomandibular (TMJ) joint syndrome is usually caused by bruxism or an injury to the jaw. It is a series of problems that affect the functioning of the jaw muscles and the temporomandibular joint connecting your jaw to the skull. Symptoms of the syndrome include:

  • Tenderness or pain in your face, jaw, neck, shoulders or around the ear
  • Difficulty with chewing or opening your mouth
  • A popping or clicking sound when your mouth is opening or closing
  • A jaw that appears to be stuck or becomes locked in position
  • Swelling on the side of your face
  • An uncomfortable bite that comes on suddenly

How Can a Bruxism Mouth Guard Provide TMJ Pain Relief?

Night guards aren’t the only way to treat bruxism or TMJ syndrome. However, they are one of the most affordable, convenient and non-invasive treatments available for the condition. Utilizing a properly fitted custom night guard will shift the jaw and teeth into their proper alignments, which can help you to get rid of jaw tension, pain, headaches and other symptoms.

Why Should I Wear a Mouth Guard for Jaw Clenching?

Did you know that bruxism is one of the leading causes of root canals? This is due to the fact that excessive grinding and clenching of the teeth can lead to enamel erosion. This erosion can lead to tooth decay and a host of other issues. Treatments for conditions caused by bruxism can be expensive and time consuming.

While you can purchase an over-the-counter mouth guard, it’s best to have one custom-fitted to your mouth. This is because a custom-fitted night guard:

  • will be a perfect fit, meaning it will be more comfortable to wear and that it won’t fall out,
  • will last longer, and;
  • places your jaw in proper alignment.

What Is the Process Like to Get a Custom Night Guard?

If your dentist determines that a night guard is the right choice for you, he or she will take a mold of your teeth. This mold will be sent off to a lab where your mouth guard will be fabricated out of strong plastic. When your mouth guard first arrives, your dentist will ensure that it fits properly. Then you will wear it whenever you sleep. While it can feel a little odd to sleep with your mouth guard at first, you will soon find that you grow used to it.

How Much Will My Bruxism Night Guard Cost?

The exact cost of your night guard will be determined by the materials used in constructing it and the specifications needed to fabricate the device. Your dentist will provide you with a detailed estimate of the cost. Your dental insurance provider may cover all or part of the cost.

If you’ve been experiencing pain due to bruxism, contact Gentle Dental of Westland today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dentists.

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Gentle Dental of Westland

825 S Wayne Road, Westland, MI 48186

(734) 329-5284

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