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Posted on: November 3, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
Anxiety from the COVID-19 pandemic can, in some cases, literally be tooth shattering for people. Media reports from across the nation are quoting dentists who are seeing a major rise in patients with cracked teeth, fillings or crowns. Stress and anxiety can manifest itself in teeth grinding at night and many people don’t realize they’ve started doing it. People are socially isolated, staying at home, often in front of a screen they get little physical release for the tension building up in them as many activities are canceled. The tension comes out in jaw clenching during the day and teeth grinding at night, both of which are very damaging to teeth.
What Does a Diagnosis of Bruxism Mean?
When your dentist tells you that you have bruxism, it means he or she sees evidence of you clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth while you are asleep. When you grind your teeth, you put them together tightly and move your jaw sideways, making the teeth rub against each other. You may not know you’re doing it unless you have a bed mate who hears you making grinding noises in your sleep. Bruxism is typically stress-related, but a misaligned jaw or missing teeth can also cause bruxism.
Some people are more prone to teeth grinding and jaw clenching, including people who:
- Are under stress or feel anxious
- Are highly competitive or aggressive
- Have sleep apnea
- Take certain psychiatric medications
- Have ADHD, dementia and other disorders
- Are tobacco users or drinkers
- Consume large amounts of caffeine daily
- Have a family history of bruxism
Why Do Some People Clench Their Teeth During the Daytime?
Daytime bruxism is often associated with frustration and stress. People rarely consciously grind their teeth during the day, but they may unconsciously clench their jaw and start to grind their teeth if they are under a lot of stress. In this case, stress reduction tactics are often useful, including:
- Exercise or regular movement breaks
- Deep breathing
- Light reading
- Getting outside in nature
- Spending time with a pet
- Engaging in hobbies, like painting, adult coloring or knitting
- Taking a hot bath
What Dental Treatments Are Available for Bruxism?
A dentist’s primary concern is preserving healthy, natural teeth. Since bruxism can damage teeth, dentists favor custom night guards to protect teeth. Bruxism can wear teeth down and remove their protective enamel. Without a strong enamel coating, teeth are more likely to decay or fracture by allowing bacteria to attack the sensitive part of the teeth.
What Are the Advantages of a Custom-made Night Guard?
You’ll receive a better quality, more comfortable and better fitting device from your dentist than you can buy online. If you buy a night guard online, it can never fit as well as one made in a dental lab. Mouth guards that fit perfectly offer the most protection because of the highest quality materials used and the custom fit.
Why Do Dental Patients Wear Night Guards While They Sleep?
Our patients primarily wear night guards to prevent tooth damage and to ease the strain on the temporomandibular joints. They also wear them to ease the headaches and pain in the jaws bruxism causes. Our patients at Dentists' Office of The Hudson Valley say they feel much better without chronic headaches. It may take a few nights to get comfortable with your mouth guard, but the initial discomfort is worth the joy of waking without pain or having to fix a broken tooth because of nighttime bruxism.
What Is a Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder?
TMJ disorders are problems with your temporomandibular joint, the hinge that operates your jaw. The two joints connect your lower jaw to your face. Without them, you can’t open and close your mouth, chew or yawn. The joint can become inflamed or sore from teeth grinding activity or from a blow to the face. Typical symptoms people experience with a TMJ disorder include:
- Trouble opening your mouth fully
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
- Headaches like migraines
- Your jaw gets stuck or locked
- Your teeth fit together differently
Can a Bruxism Night Guard Ease TMJ Pain?
A bruxism guard can protect the temporomandibular joint from the stress caused by clenching and grinding. It may be used in conjunction with anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants and relaxation techniques, but generally, a mouth guard is the best and least invasive solution.
How Do Mouth Guards Help with Jaw Clenching?
The guard places a physical barrier between your teeth. A professional night guard from your dentist will work best, as it is durable and strong enough to absorb the massive amount of pressure your jaw can exert. We can provide you with one if you give us a call to schedule a consultation.
What’s the Process for Getting a Custom Mouth Guard?
The process is straightforward. Your dentist creates an impression of your teeth for the dental lab. Once they receive it, the lab makes a mold. They will create a custom-made night guard for you and send it back to your dentist. He or she will make sure it fits you perfectly, knowing that this will make it easier for you to get used to wearing it. Follow your dentist’s instructions for cleaning and storing your night guard when you’re not wearing it.
What Do Custom-Made Night Guards Cost?
Our price for a night guard varies according to the patient’s need and the material the dental lab uses to create the appliance. You would need to come in for an exam for our dentist to see if you have bruxism and for him or her to find out your unique needs. Please call us for an appointment. If you have dental insurance coverage, please bring your information with you as the policy may cover all or a portion of the cost.
If you’re experiencing bruxism or TMJ disorder symptoms, please contact us. We encourage you to call us if someone tells you about grinding noises you make in your sleep. At Dentists' Office of The Hudson Valley, our experienced dentists can also repair any damage caused by bruxism.