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Posted on: November 2, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
According to information published in an article by The New York Times in recent weeks, dentists across the United States are reporting increased damage to teeth caused by grinding or clenching. This is likely related to stress that has been caused by the pandemic and by other issues associated with this serious risk to the health and welfare of people in this country and around the world. At our dental practice, we work with patients to help resolve these issues quickly and effectively. We are committed to helping you achieve the most practical and positive dental care options in Falls Church.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is another term for the habitual clenching of the jaw or grinding of teeth. This can happen during the day or at night and can do some serious damage to the enamel that protects your teeth from damage. Stress is a primary factor in causing bruxism among adults. Some other risk factors for bruxism include the following:
- Younger children are more likely to experience bruxism than older children or adults.
- People with active and excited personalities may also be at greater risk of developing issues with bruxism.
- Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea and other medical conditions could cause an increased risk of damage to teeth from bruxism.
- Use of alcohol, tobacco or caffeine may boost the chance of bruxism.
How Do I Stop Clenching and Grinding My Teeth During the Day?
Avoiding caffeine and tobacco use are among the most helpful strategies for lowering your risk of bruxism. Additionally, taking time to relax and release stress can be a solid step in the right direction when managing issues with grinding or clenching your teeth during the daytime hours.
How Will a Dentist Help?
One of the most useful tools in reducing the damage done by bruxism is a custom dental guard made specifically to fit over your teeth. At Herrmann & Desio Family Dentistry, we work with you to provide a custom night guard that will protect your tooth enamel and your jaw from some of the most serious consequences of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw during the nighttime hours.
What Is a Custom Night Guard?
A custom night guard looks and works in much the same way as dental whitening trays. However, instead of improving the appearance of your teeth, dental night guards fit over your teeth to create a protective cushion that stops the damage caused by bruxism. For most patients, these dental guards are designed for use at night. It may take you a few nights to get used to the night guard, but you shouldn’t have too much trouble adjusting.
Why Wear a Teeth Protector While You Sleep?
While you are asleep, you are unaware of whether you are grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. For many of our patients, the first indication they have that something is wrong is pain in their jaw upon waking. Others may not know that they suffer from bruxism until a family member tells them that they were grinding their teeth in their sleep. Wearing a mouth guard is one of the best and most practical ways to deal with these issues and to prevent problems that may include a condition called temporomandibular joint syndrome.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?
More commonly referred to as TMJ syndrome, temporomandibular joint syndrome affects the muscles and joints of the jaw. Repeated or severe stress on your jaw caused by clenching or grinding your teeth can weaken these areas of your body and can lead to some or all of the following symptoms:
- A feeling that your teeth no longer fit together properly
- Clicking or crackling noises when you open or close your mouth
- Pain or discomfort when chewing or biting
- Aches in the jaw, neck, shoulders or face
TMJ syndrome can cause serious issues that can result in severe pain. Our dental team can help you find the best ways of addressing this issue and managing your pain effectively.
Can a Mouth Guard Provide Relief for TMJ Pain?
While a generic mouth guard is unlikely to help you manage pain associated with TMJ syndrome, our office can provide you with a custom-fitted mouth guard that is designed to take the pressure off your jaw and to give your TMJ time to heal. This can significantly reduce the discomfort you feel and can allow TMJ syndrome to subside more quickly.
Why You Need a Custom-Fitted Mouth Guard
Custom-fitted dental guards are more durable and feel more comfortable than generic models. This can help you to manage issues with bruxism more effectively and can promote the most comfortable night’s sleep for you and other members of your family.
How Can You Get a Custom Night Guard?
At Herrmann & Desio Family Dentistry, we offer practical dental care that includes comprehensive help for patients with bruxism. Our dentists can repair damaged teeth and can take measurements to create a custom dental guard specifically designed to fit your teeth. These dental guards are an important way to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw at night while you are asleep.
Managing the Costs of Bruxism Mouth Guards
If you are looking for affordable dental care in Falls Church, our team will work with you to make sure your bruxism treatment and other procedures will put as small a strain on your budget as possible. We know that many families are struggling during the pandemic and we are working to keep our fees as low as possible for the care you need. If you have dental insurance, we will work with your plan provider to make sure that as much of your care is covered by your insurance as possible. We are committed to the highest standards in dentistry and the lowest prices possible for our patients.
Give us a call today to schedule your first appointment with our dentists. We look forward to the opportunity to help you and your family achieve the brightest smiles and the healthiest teeth and gums.