A reaction to stress can be to grind your teeth unconsciously during the day or, more commonly, while sleeping. Grinding and clenching your teeth, known as bruxism, can lead to cracked teeth, pain, and even tooth loss.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD) can develop from bruxism and are extremely uncomfortable disorders of the jaw. Nightguards and splints help to treat both these conditions.
Bruxism is the medical name for teeth grinding or clenching. Some people who suffer from bruxism are not even aware of the exact problem. Bruxism is most prevalent in women and generally found in about one-third of the population. You might have dental problems, an aching jaw, or even a cracked tooth and not realize that the problem is that you have been grinding your teeth.
While some teeth grinding and clenching is caused by stress or anxiety, most teeth grinding occurs at night. If left untreated, the results can be quite problematic including:
- Jaw pain
- Loose teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Worn teeth
- Hearing loss
With grinding your teeth being an unconscious habit, it can be hard to stop. We will provide a thorough evaluation that will allow us to check your teeth, tissues, and muscles. If Dr. Patel determines that you suffer from bruxism, we’ll create an orthotic appliance, also called a nightguard or splint, to prevent grinding and clenching. This is a custom-fitted appliance that will help protect your teeth from grinding.
Therapies for bruxism include Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), stress and anxiety management, focused facial relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles, applying ice or wet heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and hydrating the body. If your teeth were damaged because of bruxism, or if we find TMJ to be a factor, our team will work to provide you with complete relief.
If you’d like to learn about other options we have, feel free to visit our Preventative Dentistry hub pages or contact us directly!
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