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Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?

Are you feeling stressed due to the coronavirus pandemic? If so, then you are not alone. Dentists have reported that since the beginning of the pandemic related shutdowns, they have seen an alarming increase in the number of patients coming in with issues such as migraines, tooth sensitivity, jaw pain and tooth fractures. What is the one thing that all of these patients have in common? They clench and grind their teeth and jaw. This condition is known medically as bruxism.

Can You Tell Me About Bruxism?

Clenching and grinding the teeth and jaw is referred to as bruxism. This common condition is typically caused by stress, anxiety, poor posture and a lack of sleep. It’s mostly done in times of intense stress or when a person is sleeping.

The problem with bruxism is that it wears down the enamel and structure of your teeth, making it more likely that you have issues like tooth decay and sensitivity. It also causes many people to experience severe headaches, as well as pain in the jaw, face and neck. Bruxism can also cause severe disruption to your sleep cycle.

Some of the factors that make it more likely that you will develop bruxism are:

  • Age: Young children commonly have bruxism.
  • Personality Type: Bruxism is also commonly found in people who have more intense personalities.
  • Intense Emotions: It’s not uncommon for people to unconsciously grind their teeth when they feel stressed, frustrated or angry.
  • Certain Medications and Substances: Using caffeine, alcohol, tobacco or certain psychiatric medications can greatly increase your risk of developing bruxism.
  • Other Health Conditions: People who have conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, epilepsy, sleep apnea and Parkinson’s disease often have bruxism as well.

Can You Help Me Learn How to Stop Clenching My Teeth During the Day?

The primary culprit behind daytime bruxism is feeling stressed, anxious, angry, frustrated or tense. The best way to prevent daytime bruxism (or to lessen its impact) is to incorporate as many stress reducing activities as possible into your day. These steps can also assist you in lessening the impact of bruxism during the night as well:

  • Stop smoking, especially before you go to bed for the night.
  • Reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
  • Engage in activities like meditating, taking a hot bath, going for a walk, listening to calming music or any other activity that you find relaxing.

How Can Our Dental Office Assist You?

If you believe that you have bruxism or TMJ syndrome, contact our office to make an appointment with one of our caring dentists. Your dentist will be able to determine how to best treat this issue. He or she may recommend that you receive a custom night guard to wear whenever you sleep.

What Do Custom Night Guards Do?

A custom, oral night guard protects the teeth from becoming worn down while you clench and grind your teeth. It also re-establishes the space that naturally exists between your lower and upper teeth. These devices are sometimes referred to as a bite splint, an occlusal splint or an occlusal guard.

Why Do I Need to Wear a Night Guard When I Sleep?

If your dentist has recommended that you wear a night guard when you sleep it is because he or she wants to prevent damage to your teeth, jaw and any dental restoration work that has been completed on your mouth. In addition, your dentist also wants to help prevent morning headaches and pain caused by TMJ syndrome.

What Are the Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is usually caused by a jaw injury or bruxism. This syndrome reduces the ability of your jaw muscles and joints to function properly. Some common indications that you have TMJ syndrome include:

  • Finding it difficult to chew or open your mouth wide.
  • Feeling pain or tenderness anywhere in the face, neck, shoulders or ears.
  • Hearing a popping or clicking sound whenever you open or close your mouth.
  • Experiencing a suddenly uncomfortable bite.
  • Seeing swelling on the side of your face.
  • Having a jaw that gets stuck or locked into certain positions.

How Does a Bruxism Mouth Guard Assist in Relieving Jaw Pain?

A mouth guard can assist in relieving any symptoms of TMJ syndrome you are experiencing. This is due to the fact that a night guard will ensure that your teeth and jaw are aligning properly. This helps in treating jaw tension, headaches, pain and other commonly experienced TMJ symptoms.

How Important Is It to Wear a Mouth Guard for Bruxism?

If you are prescribed a mouth guard for your bruxism or TMJ, it is incredibly important that you wear it every night. Your mouth guard will assist in preventing serious dental issues from occurring in the future.

While you may be tempted to purchase an over-the-counter mouth guard, you should seriously consider having a dental professional fit you for a customized appliance. This is because:

  • Customized mouth guards keep your jaw properly aligned.
  • Customized mouth guards fit better and are more comfortable.
  • Customized mouth guards will stay in your mouth while you sleep at night.
  • Customized mouth guards are fabricated out of higher quality materials and will last longer.

What Is the Process for Getting a Custom Night Guard Like?

To receive your night guard, you will first need to visit a dentist. He or she will take a mold of your teeth. This mold will then be sent off to a lab, where they will construct your customized night guard. Once you have gone into the dentist for a final fitting, you will be able to take your mouth guard home and wear it every night when you go to sleep.

How Much Does a Bruxism Mouth Guard Cost?

Your dentist will provide you with an estimate of the cost of your mouth guard. The amount you will owe will depend on the materials and specifications used to make the mouth guard. If you are concerned about cost, contact your dental insurance company. They may offer full or partial coverage for bruxism mouth guards.

To ensure that your dental health remains in top-notch shape, contact Premier Dental of Connecticut to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

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