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Posted on: November 2, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
A recently published article in The New York Times suggests that an unintended consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic shutdowns may be an increase in tooth fractures, cracked teeth, migraines, jaw pain and tooth sensitivity. These increases are likely due to the stress of the pandemic and causing dental patients to clench and grind their teeth and jaw. Other causes of this behavior can be anxiety, poor posture and lack of sleep – all of which have become common issues as people have adjusted to working from home.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism?
Clenching and grinding the teeth and jaws, also known as bruxism, is a common condition that usually happens while a person is sleeping or undergoing significant stress. It’s not uncommon for people to have no idea that they have been clenching or grinding their teeth until a dentist notices the signs of it.
Bruxism can lead to significant damage being done to the enamel and overall structure of the teeth. This can cause the teeth to become more likely to become decay. It also causes sensitive teeth, headaches, sleep disruptions and pain in the jaw, face and neck.
Factors that play into developing bruxism are:
- Age: Younger children are more likely to grind and clench their teeth and jaw.
- Personality Type: People who have more intense and hyperactive personality types are more likely to have bruxism.
- Intense Emotions: Going through periods of intense stress, anger or frustration can lead to teeth grinding.
- Certain Medications and Substances: People who take certain psychiatric medications, use tobacco or drink caffeine or alcohol can also develop bruxism.
- Other Health Conditions: Individuals with sleep apnea, epilepsy, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Parkinson’s disease are at an increased risk of developing bruxism.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Stop Clenching My Teeth During the Day?
The most likely reason why you are clenching your teeth during the day is due to feeling intense emotions such as anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or tension. To lessen teeth clenching and grinding you should engage in stress relieving activities. Other things you can do to stop this from occurring include:
- Avoiding smoking, especially before you go to bed.
- Limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink.
- Utilizing relaxation techniques such as listening to gentle music, meditating, taking a bath and going for a walk.
How Can Our Dental Office Help You?
If you’ve been told that you grind your teeth or if you’ve been suffering from chronic headaches or jaw pain, you may benefit from utilizing a custom-fitted night guard. Wearing one of these devices can prevent your teeth from becoming excessively worn down, as well as provide you with relief from TMJ pain. A consultation with one of our dentists will determine whether or not a night guard is a good treatment option for your bruxism or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
Can a Custom Night Guard Help Me?
Wearing a custom night guard will not stop you from clenching or grinding your teeth. What it does do is act as a shield for your teeth so that they are protected from becoming worn down. It also assists in keeping space between your upper and lower teeth.
Why Should I Wear a Teeth Protector When Sleeping?
The use of a custom night guard will allow you to protect your teeth, jaw, crowns and other dental restoration work. It will also reduce any morning headaches and TMJ pain that you experience.
How Do I Know If I Have Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?
Temporomandibular joint syndrome is typically caused by a jaw injury or by bruxism. This issue affects the way that jaw muscles and temporomandibular joint function. Symptoms of this condition are:
- Feeling pain or tenderness in your face, jaw, neck or ears
- Finding it difficult to chew or open your mouth wide
- Hearing a popping or clicking when opening or closing your mouth
- Swelling on the side of your face
- Experiencing a stuck or locked jaw
- Having a suddenly uncomfortable bite
Will a Night Guard for Bruxism Help with Pain From TMJ Syndrome?
Wearing a night guard that has been properly fitted will help to keep your teeth and jaw in proper alignment throughout the night. This can eliminate any headaches, jaw tension, pain or other symptoms of TMJ that you may have been experiencing.
Why Is It Important to Get a Mouth Guard for Jaw Clenching?
The amount of damage done by untreated bruxism can be expensive to treat. It can also be painful. For instance, root canals are frequently needed for people with untreated bruxism. Grinding and clenching can lead to an increase in cavities, as well as pain in your jaw.
Over-the-counter night guards are available for purchase. However, our office always recommends that you see a dental professional who can fit you for a custom mouth guard. A proper, custom mouth guard will ensure that your jaw remains in proper alignment, that your night guard fits properly and comfortably for a long time, that it won’t fall out while you’re sleeping and will last longer.
How Do I Get a Custom Mouth Guard?
Receiving a custom-fitted mouth guard is as simple as having your dentist make a mold of your teeth. This mold is then sent off to be fabricated into a durable plastic mouth guard. Your dentist will ensure that your appliance fits properly before you take it home. You will then sleep with the mouth guard in your mouth. While this may feel a little weird at first, you can rest assured that you will become used to the way that it feels.
What Will My Custom Night Guard Cost?
Your cost will be determined by factors such as the specifications and materials required in order to make your night guard. Our dentist will provide you with an estimate of the costs before you have your mouth guard constructed. Your dental insurance provider may offer some form of complete or partial coverage for bruxism night guards.
In order to book a consultation to find the best treatment option for your bruxism or TMJ syndrome, contact Richard L. Rausch, DDS as soon as possible.