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Posted on: November 3, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
Pandemics often bring unexpected, secondary health problems. The coronavirus pandemic, with kids home from school and people worried about their jobs and their health, is causing many people stress and anxiety. The New York Times is reporting that dentists are seeing an increase in patients with fractured teeth because they are grinding or clenching them while they sleep or during the day.
Some of these people never clenched their jaw or engaged in teeth grinding before, so they are not sure why they have a cracked tooth. Fortunately, dentists can recognize the signs and help them protect their teeth while they try to find another way to deal with the stress.
What Is Stress-induced Bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term for people who clench or grind their teeth while they sleep, or sometimes even during the day. Many people don’t even know they grind their teeth until their dentist notices their teeth wearing down or a fracture appearing. Some people grind their teeth because they are crooked or they have a missing tooth, but stress-induced bruxism is the most common.
- Bruxism is often seen in individuals who are:
- Competitive or hyperactive
- Someone who kicks in their sleep
- Taking certain medications
- Have sleep apnea or attention-deficit disorder.
Grinding your teeth while you sleep will cause damage to your teeth. You could also wake up with headaches and unexplained pain in your jaw.
What Is Daytime Teeth Clenching?
Although it’s more common to grind or clench your teeth at night, it happens during the daytime too. Daytime bruxism is usually the result of stress, too much caffeine or too much alcohol. It’s generally an unconscious reaction. Reducing your stress is essential to avoid tooth problems. You can try stress reduction techniques such as:
- Limiting your caffeine intake
- Going for a walk
There are many other ways to relieve stress, such as interacting with pets, knitting or engaging in a hobby. Any activity that will engage your mind and keep you from worrying will work.
How Do Dentists Help People with Bruxism?
Your dentist can tell if you grind your teeth. He or she will look for physical causes which can be corrected. If it’s stress-related bruxism, your dentist can create a custom night guard to stop further damage to your teeth and reduce TMJ pain and chronic headaches. It’s an affordable option you can speak with your dentist about if you’re clenching your teeth. Call us today to learn more. We will set up a consultation for you with one of our dentists.
How Do Custom Night Guards Help?
A custom night guard protects your teeth from the effects of grinding them. You will still grind or clench your teeth, but now they are cushioned. A night guard looks like the trays you use you whiten your teeth. It’s custom made for you, so it’s comfortable to wear. It make take some getting used to, but within a few nights you should be more comfortable. Your dentist will suggest one made from rubber or acrylic, in a thickness suitable for your degree of bruxism.
Why Should I Consider a Custom Night Guard?
If you grind your teeth, over time, they will wear down and become sensitive. You may also break a tooth, crown or filling. Night guards can also stop morning headaches, earaches and facial pain. Long-term bruxism can also result in tooth loss.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?
TMJ syndrome is a problem with your temporomandibular joint, which is the joint which connects your jaw to your skull. It acts as a hinge so you can move your jaw. Symptoms of a TMJ disorder include:
- Pain in your face or jaw
- Problems opening your mouth wide
- Trouble chewing
- Your jaw gets locked
- A clicking noise when you open your mouth
- Swelling near your jaw
Can a Night Guard Prevent TMJ Pain?
If you have temporomandibular joint disorder, a professionally fitted mouth guard may ease the painful pressure. It is only one treatment your dentist may recommend, but it one of the least expensive options and it is non invasive. Please call us for a consultation if you have jaw pain or other signs of a TMJ disorder. One of our experienced dentists can diagnose your condition and suggest treatment options.
Why Are Night Mouth Guards Important?
Bruxism mouth guards can save the enamel from wearing off your teeth, which can lead to decay. They can also prevent tooth fractures, broken restorations and the pain associated with grinding or clenching your teeth.
How Do I Get a Custom Night Guard?
The process is quite simple. Your dentist will make an impression of your mouth so the dental lab can create a perfectly fitting mouth guard for you. Your dentist will ensure it fits properly and you’ll get used to wearing it quickly.
Are Custom Night Guards from a Dentist Affordable?
You can buy less expensive night mouth guards online or at your local drugstore, but these are one-size-fits-all pieces of plastic. You don’t know if they will fit you or if they will place your jaw in the correct alignment. If one does not fit well, you probably won’t wear it as it will be uncomfortable. One from your dentist will also last longer and use higher-quality materials. Talk to our dentist. He or she can provide a quote after accessing your needs. If you have dental insurance, it may cover all or part of the cost. Remember, the night mouth guard is an investment that will protect your only set of natural adult teeth and any fillings or expensive porcelain crowns you have in your mouth.
If you’re clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth from stress from the current pandemic or for any other reason, call us at Rockledge Dental, and we’d be delighted to schedule a consultation. You can consult with one of our dentists and learn how to alleviate your symptoms and prevent any additional tooth damage with a custom night guard.