GRINDING YOUR TEETH?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Teeth grinding (or as it’s known in the medical community, bruxism) is a common ailment among adults, with as many as one in three people affected. Though common, it’s important to take action against grinding your teeth, as it can cause major tooth damage and other health issues if left unchecked.
Tooth grinding often happens while you sleep. You have no idea you are doing it however, the dentist can tell. If you or someone else believes you have been grinding your teeth at night, look for these common symptoms:
- Constant sore, tight or tired jaw muscles
- Tooth sensitivity to heat, cold or spice
- Abrasions on the inner cheek from mouth and teeth movements
- Lingering headaches, especially on waking
- Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
IDEAS TO HELP MANAGE BRUXISM
Here are some ways you can help yourself until you can get to the dentist:
- Eliminate caffeine from your diet. This can lessen teeth grinding because your mind and body will have an easier time relaxing.
- Reduce stress with regular exercise, a healthy diet and meditation. Address major stress triggers in daily life via counseling.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Turn on soothing music, turn off all electronics and gently massage the jaw and neck.
- Give up chewing on pencils, pens – anything that isn’t food. Avoid chewing gum, too. Your jaw muscles become familiar with the clenching movement, which can make you more likely to grind your teeth at night.
OCCLUSAL GUARDS PROTECT TEETH FROM GRINDING
Dental occlusion refers to contact between teeth when you bite them together. The only time occlusion should occur is when you are chewing. If you have occlusal disease your teeth may be coming together too much. At times of rest, your teeth should be apart, for example, if you’re driving down the road, your teeth should be apart. In a meeting or lifting weights, your teeth should be apart. If you find yourself during the day with your teeth clenched together you may need professional intervention.
We may recommend an occlusal guard if you grind or clench your teeth excessively. Occlusal guards, sometimes known as a night guards or night mouthguards (because people who grind their teeth tend to do so while sleeping), are appliances designed to protect the wearer’s teeth from damage.
If you suffer from TMJ dysfunction, we may also recommend an occlusal guard which is not a treatment or cure for TMJ but can often alleviate some of the symptoms of TMJ.
The occlusal dental guard is a piece of acrylic that is curved in the shape of your upper or lower arch that acts as a barrier between your top and bottom teeth. Because sleeping with something in your mouth is challenging, we prefer to custom make an occlusal guard specifically for you. Another reason why a custom guard is so important is a guard must have your exact bite ground into it. If not, it can do more damage than good.
If you believe you grind your teeth or have mouth pain or tooth sensitivity, let’s discuss whether an occlusal guard is right for you.
Bruxism can be a painful and progressive ailment. It can create a number of dental problems, so finding and starting the right treatment plan as soon as you see the first symptom is imperative. Using a combination of self-treatment and medical help, we can stop the effects of grinding and prevent further pain and damage.