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Posted on: November 3, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
The national media is reports a rise in cracked teeth and dentists are blaming COVID-19-related stress. These patients are also waking up with bad headaches each day, which is also a sign of teeth grinding. Individuals rarely realize that the stress they are under from the pandemic and all the subsequent issues can cause them to start grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw while they sleep or during the day. Social isolation, the economy and health concerns will naturally cause stress and anxiety, and unfortunately, teeth are paying the price.
What Does it Mean if I Have Bruxism?
If a dentist diagnoses you with bruxism, you either clench your jaw or grind your teeth, usually at night. Some patients do both. When you grind your teeth, you hold them together tightly and move your jaw from side to side or forward and backward. This results in more visible wear, which is obvious to an experienced dentist, but may not be evident to the untrained eye. Many people don’t know they have bruxism until their dentist tells them they do. A bed partner may also notice you making grinding noises at night or clenching your teeth during the day.
Certain people are more prone to bruxism, including:
- People who are anxious or stressed
- People with sleep apnea or other sleep disorders
- People who drink an excessive amount of alcohol
- People who drink large amounts of caffeine daily
- Naturally competitive individuals
How Do I Stop Daytime Teeth Clenching?
Anger, stress and frustration will cause some people to clench their jaw muscles. The jaw is the easiest muscle to clench, so many people, especially those in high stress professions, tend to clench their teeth during the day. Stressful occupations include the military, law enforcement and healthcare, among others. With the current pandemic, many other jobs have become more stressful as individuals attempt to balance working at home, family life and the pandemic. Many times, co-workers fall ill despite precautions.
Since wearing a mouth guard would be awkward to wear during the day, some dentists often suggest their patients try relaxation techniques, such as:
- Deep breathing
- Taking a walk
- Getting out in nature
- Listening to music
- A hot bath
What Can Dentists Do to Help People with Bruxism?
The dental approach is to use a night guard to preserve the teeth. A dentist will also repair any tooth problems, like an uneven bite, that may be contributing to your teeth grinding issues. Dentists usually also suggest stress management to stop a patient from grinding their teeth at night or during the day.
What Are Nighttime Mouth Guards?
The mouth guards you get from your dentist are custom-made devices, usually made from hard acrylic. They resemble a teeth whitening tray and keep your upper and lower teeth from touching. They don’t necessarily prevent teeth grinding or jaw clenching, but they stop the damage from the massive force of your jaw.
Why Should I Wear a Mouth Guard at Night if I Have Bruxism?
Mouth guards can stop jaw pain and stiffness and the headaches associated with bruxism. They also halt tooth wear and help prevent damage, such as tooth cracks and damage to restorations. Wearing a mouth guard can keep you from having expensive dental issues and pain each day. Please call us to learn more about the benefits of bruxism night guards.
What Is a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
It is a disorder affecting one or both of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) which connect your jaw to your skull. These joints allow your jaw to move up and down, forward and backwards and side to side. When you have a TMJ disorder, you may have the following issues:
- Facial or jaw pain or tenderness
- Neck pain
- Jaw popping
- Jaw clicking
- A change in your bite
- Problems chewing food
Can a Nighttime Mouth Guard Provide TMJ Syndrome Pain Relief?
Bruxism can put an excessive stain on your temporomandibular joints. A bruxism mouth guard will hold your jaw in alignment and relieve the strain, especially at night when you are unable to control yourself like you are during the day. This will prevent any serious damage from occurring.
Why Are Bruxism Night Guards Important?
Custom-fitted mouth guards from your dentist offer the best fit and are the most durable. They may be more expensive compared to devices you can buy online or at your local drugstore, but your dentist will make sure it is made so your jaw is in alignment and the device is comfortable to wear.
Do Dentists Fit Mouth Guards for Jaw Clenching?
Your dentist will examine you, and if a mouth guard is the best treatment, he or she will take an impression for the dental lab. The lab fabricates the mouth guard and sends it back to your dentist. Once he or she ensures it fits you properly, you can start wearing it every night. It won’t take long for you to get comfortable wearing the device. Your dentist will explain how to clean your appliance as well.
Are Night Mouth Guards Affordable?
The specifications and material used will affect your exact cost. Your dentist will give you an estimate after your exam once he or she determines your unique needs. If you have dental insurance coverage, it may cover a portion of the cost. Our night guards are an affordable investment when you consider what it could cost if you crack a tooth, a filling or a porcelain crown.
Do you have a fractured tooth or a cracked filling? If so, please call us. One of our dentists can examine your teeth for signs you grind them, and if so, help with repairing the fracture. We also encourage you to contact us if your bed partner says you make grinding noises in your sleep. One of our dentists can help you protect your teeth before you do any permanent damage by recommending a custom night guard.