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Posted on: November 2, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth Becoming More Common During the Pandemic?
An unexpected consequence of the coronavirus shutdown has been an increase in the number of cracked teeth, according to The New York Times. Since more people are working from home, their stress level and anxiety have increased, their posture has deteriorated, and they get less sleep. These conditions encourage the onset of bruxism, a condition characterized by clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth.
Is Bruxism a Dental Disorder?
Bruxism is the medical term for clenching your jaws and grinding your teeth, and science isn’t sure of its origins. Researchers postulate that bruxism is a combination of physical, psychological and genetic influences. However, no matter the cause, the result is the same, and the clenching and grinding motions of bruxism can severely damage your teeth and jaw. Clenching is consistent, excessive force that’s applied over a long time and causes jaw pain. Grinding is a back-and-forth motion that destroys the tooth enamel.
People who are more likely to develop bruxism include:
- Children who are less than 6 years old
- Aggressive, competitive, or hyperactive personalities
- Those who smoke, drink alcohol or caffeine, and take some types of psychiatric medications
- Those who have ADHD, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, or sleep apnea
- Those who are very emotionally stressed, frustrated, or angry
How Do I Prevent Bruxism From Happening During The Day?
Whether you experience bruxism during the day or at night, you can take steps to lessen its onset, including:
- Reduce your consumption of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
- Quit smoking altogether, or at least before you go to bed
- Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, taking a walk or a hot bath, or listening to relaxing music
Can My Dentist Cure My Bruxism?
If you have bruxism, then a custom-fitted mouth guard may help. Available from your dentist, a custom mouth guard can protect your teeth and jaw from the damage done by bruxism. Grinding your teeth can remove as much as 2mm of tooth enamel in a few years, and clenching your jaw can trigger migraines, jaw pain, the need for root canals, cavities and more. If you have dental restoration work, bruxism can destroy it, which can be very expensive.
Does a Bruxism Night Guard Help?
A custom-fitted night guard will help maintain your jaw in proper alignment and prevent the erosion of your tooth enamel and damage to any dental restorations. Although a night guard won’t eliminate the triggers that cause bruxism, it will help mitigate the damage it can do to your teeth and jaw.
Why Do I Need a Nighttime Mouth Guard?
Grinding your teeth often occurs during the night, so a night guard will protect your tooth enamel, deter cavities and prevent cracked teeth. A night guard will restore the natural space between your lower and upper jaw, which will make it more difficult to clench your jaw and grind your teeth. If you need a custom-fitted night guard, then call our office to schedule an appointment.
During your appointment, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth, which will be used as the mold to fabricate your night guard. When fabrication is complete, and we’ve received the night guard from the lab, you’ll return to our office. We’ll adjust the night guard so that it fits properly and is comfortable, allowing you to start seeing the benefits right away.
Is TMJ Syndrome a Dental Disease?
TMJ syndrome is not a disease. Rather, it’s a disorder of the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. The joint is called the temporomandibular joint, thus the name of the disorder. TMJ syndrome is characterized by:
- Clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth
- Facial swelling on one side
- Inability to change your jaw from one position
- Sensitivity or pain in the ear, face, jaw, neck, or shoulders
- Problems when you chew or try to open your mouth wide
- Sudden pain when you bite down
Will a Night Guard Prevent the Onset of TMJ Syndrome?
Temporomandibular joint syndrome is caused by trauma to the jaw or bruxism, so unfortunately, a night guard won’t prevent injuries. It can, however, prevent or lessen the impact of bruxism, so it may forestall the onset of problems with your TMJ. It can also lessen the symptoms of temporomandibular joint syndrome.
Will a Night Guard Prevent Jaw Clenching?
A custom-fitted night guard can restore the proper alignment and spacing of your jaws, which will deter jaw clenching at night. It will also prevent tooth grinding, so it will lessen the damage to your tooth enamel, bridges and crowns. Although you can buy night guards at your local pharmacy or drug store, most people find that they’re less effective than a custom-fitted mouth guard. Over-the-counter mouth guards are less expensive initially, but they don’t fit as well and are likely to slip or fall out. Since they’re less comfortable, you’ll be less likely to wear them, so your money will be wasted.
Who Sells Custom Night Guards?
Your dentist is the best resource for a custom-fitted night guard. Although a custom model may be more expensive initially, it can be more cost-effective over time. Since a custom night guard will be tailored specifically to the contours of your teeth and gums, it will be far more comfortable than an over-the-counter model, so you’ll be more inclined to wear it, and it will be less likely to fall out during the night. A custom-fitted night guard won’t interfere with your speech or your breathing, but it will alleviate the discomforts of bruxism, such as morning headaches and jaw pain.
What’s the Price of a Night Guard for Bruxism?
The cost of your custom-fitted night guard will be unique to you, but it will be influenced mainly by the type of guard you select, the materials used to make it and your insurance coverage. Many times, insurance will pay for a mouth guard that’s deemed medically necessary. If that’s the case, you most likely will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses for your custom-fitted night guard, but we’ll provide you with an estimate of the cost for your device all the same.
If you have bruxism or TMJ syndrome symptoms, then call Manatee Dental of East Bradenton at (941) 538-6339 for an appointment, and let’s get started on your custom-fitted night guard. We do our utmost to ensure that our patients enjoy their visit with us and that they’re at ease and comfortable. Call us for an appointment. You’ll be glad you did.