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Randol Mill Family Dentistry
1115 Randol Mill Road, Suite 100, Arlington, TX 76012

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Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?

Has the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic been causing you to have an increase in migraines, jaw pain and tooth sensitivity? If so, you aren’t alone. Dentists all over the country have noticed a rise in tooth fractures and other issues associated with grinding and clenching the teeth. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding and clenching is caused by stress, anxiety, poor posture and poor sleep – all things that have become increasingly common as people have been forced into quarantines and shutdowns by COVID-19.

What You Need to Know About Bruxism

The medical term used for clenching and grinding your teeth and jaws is bruxism. Clenching occurs when you bite down with excessive force for lengthy time periods. Grinding happens when you move the jaw back and worthwhile holding the teeth together. Bruxism is a relatively common issue and tends to happen when you’re sleeping or enduring times of great stress. You may not even know that you have bruxism until you start experiencing symptoms, are told by a sleeping partner or diagnosed by a dentist.

Bruxism can cause extensive damage to your teeth. It wears down the structure and enamel of the teeth, leading to an increased risk of cavities and sensitivity. This condition also leads to headaches, sleep disruptions and pain in your face, jaw and neck.

Certain factors increase your chances of having bruxism. These factors are:

  • Age: Young children are more likely to grind their teeth.
  • Personality Type: Personalities who are more aggressive, hyperactive or competitive tend to experience bruxism.
  • Intense Emotions: People who experience a great deal of stress, anger or frustration are more likely to develop bruxism.
  • Certain Medications and Substances: Those who use tobacco, take certain psychiatric medications or drink caffeine or alcohol may be at an increased risk for bruxism.
  • Other Health Conditions: Bruxism is associated with health issues and conditions like sleep apnea, Parkinson’s disease, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and epilepsy.

How Can I Stop Clenching My Teeth During the Day?

Experts believe that bruxism is caused via a combination of genetic, psychological and physical factors. If you’ve been clenching and grinding your teeth during the day, it is most likely because you are experiencing intense emotions like anxiety, anger, stress, frustration or tension. No matter what kind of bruxism you experience, there are things you can do to reduce the amount of clenching and grinding that happens:

  • Refrain from smoking. If you must smoke, don’t do it before bed.
  • Refrain from drinking caffeine and alcohol.
  • Listen to soothing music, take baths, go for walks, meditate or use other relaxation techniques.

Where Can I Go to Get Help for Bruxism?

If you’ve been grinding and clenching your teeth, you can see a dentist to receive help. Your dentist may recommend that you receive a custom mouth guard to be worn while you sleep. This device can help to protect your teeth from the excessive wear and tear caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching. It can also provide you with relief from pain in your temporomandibular joint. If you believe you need a custom night guard, make an appointment with one of our experienced dental professionals today.

What Do I Need to Know About Custom Night Guards?

Also known as occlusal splints, occlusal guards or bite splints, night guards are worn over the teeth in order to protect them from grinding or clenching. The device acts as a buffer from the pressure and wear caused by bruxism. It also serves to put the natural space back between the lower and upper teeth.

Why Do People Wear a Night Guard While They Sleep?

People are typically prescribed custom night guards to protect the teeth, jaw, dental crowns or other dental restoration work from becoming damaged due to bruxism. It is also prescribed to help prevent morning headaches and TMJ jaw pain.

Can You Tell Me About Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?

The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to your skull. Problems that occur in that joint or within the muscles of the jaw are referred to as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. This issue is typically caused by jaw injuries or bruxism. Some of the symptoms of TMJ syndrome include:

  • Feeling pain or tenderness in your face, neck, jaw, shoulders or ears
  • Having difficult chewing or opening the mouth wide
  • Hearing a clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Experiencing a stuck or locked jaw
  • Swelling along the side of your face
  • Feeling discomfort when you bite

How Can a Bruxism Mouth Guard Relieve My TMJ Jaw Pain?

There are several treatment options available for both bruxism and TMJ syndrome. A custom bruxism night guard is an affordable, non-invasive and convenient form of treatment. If your night guard is properly fitted, it will move your teeth and jaw into their proper alignments, alleviating tension in the jaw, headaches, pain and other TMJ syndrome symptoms.

Why Is it Important to Get a Mouth Guard for Jaw Clenching?

Failing to treat bruxism can cause serious issues with your dental health. These issues often cost a lot of money to treat. Grinding your teeth wears down the enamel of your teeth. This increases the risk of tooth decay and is one of the reasons why bruxism is one of the leading causes of root canals.

While you can purchase mouth guards online or at the store, it’s well worth the additional expense to see a dentist for a custom-fitted device. This is because:

  • Receiving a custom-fitted guard will keep your jaw in its proper alignment. This assists with providing relief for TMJ jaw pain.
  • Having a custom-fitted mouth guard means it will fit properly. This ensures that it will be comfortable to wear and won’t fall out at night.
  • Custom-fitted night guards are made out of higher quality materials. This means that your appliance will last longer.

The Process for Getting a Custom Night Guard

If your dentist decides that you are a good candidate for a custom night guard, he or she will take an impression of your teeth. That impression will be used to make a mold that the lab will utilize in fabricating your night guard. When the guard is complete, your dentist will make sure that it fits properly. Then you wear the guard as you sleep. It may take a few days to get used to having it in your mouth at night, but you will find that you adjust to it quickly. You’ll also be able to breath and speak normally while wearing your device.

The Cost of Bruxism Mouth Guards

The amount you will have to pay for your mouth guard will depend on the materials used to construct it and the exact specifications of your appliance. Our office will provide you with an estimate of the total cost. Your dental insurance may provide you with coverage for mouth guards.

If you are experiencing symptoms related to bruxism or TMJ syndrome, contact Randol Mill Family Dentistry today. We’re ready to help you find the proper bruxism treatment for you.

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