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Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?

Pandemic-induced anxiety is taking a toll on people’s physical, mental and dental health. The New York Times, along with other newspapers, are quoting dentists who are seeing more patients coming in with cracked teeth than ever before. Some individuals deal with stress by grinding their teeth at night. With the prolonged stress the pandemic has created, the effects of teeth grinding will take their toll. Natural teeth and dental restorations like fillings and porcelain crowns may crack.

People also having aching jaws and headaches, which they can’t explain since teeth grinding is often an unconscious reaction. Unless there is someone to tell them they are making grinding noises at night or their dentist notices the signs during a routine checkup, people don’t know they are hurting their dental health.

The last thing anyone needs right now is the added stress of a dental problem. So, if you think you may be grinding or clenching your teeth, see your dentist soon.

What Is Bruxism?

Clenching your jaw and gnashing your teeth or grinding them is bruxism. Nighttime bruxism is the most common, although it can also happen during the day. People can have bruxism and not know it unless their dentist sees signs of it or a partner tells them they grind their teeth at night. People prone to bruxism include:

  • Individuals who are highly competitive
  • People under great stress
  • Frustrated individuals
  • People with certain medical conditions, like epilepsy, ADHD and other conditions
  • People with sleep apnea
  • Individuals who take certain psychiatric medications
  • People who consume large amounts of caffeine
  • Tobacco and alcohol users

What Do I Do If I Clench My Teeth During the Day?

While a dentist can supply you with a bruxism mouth guard to wear during the day, realizing what you’re doing may be enough for you to stop and find another way to deal with the frustration or stress. Tactics people use include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Taking a walk
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Meditating
  • Exercising
  • Knitting

People in high-stress jobs may clench their teeth to deal with their emotions. Finding something they can do while at work, like deep breathing techniques, is essential.

How Can a Dentist Help Me with Bruxism?

A dentist can diagnose bruxism by looking at your teeth and asking you about the physical symptoms you’re experiencing. He or she will discuss the need to find ways to relax and most likely suggest a night guard. Night guards don’t prevent bruxism, but they keep your teeth from cracking and protect your restorations.

What Are the Personalized Night Guards That Most Dentists Supply?

A bruxism appliance is a device you wear over your teeth, usually the upper teeth, when sleeping. It is custom made to fit exactly, so it will stay put while you sleep. We ensure our patients have the thinnest appliance possible that still protects their teeth. Please call us if you’re interested in keeping your teeth from harm with the most comfortable night guard you can buy.

Why Do Individuals Use a Teeth Protector for Sleeping?

There are several reasons an individual would want to wear a comfortable bruxism guard every night. They may enjoy waking up headache free. A person may also want to stop tooth wear and save their expensive porcelain crowns and veneers from harm. Some individuals already have a cracked tooth and want to prevent it from happening again.

What Are Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Problems?

Your temporomandibular joints are located on both sides of your head, connecting your lower jaw to your skull. The joints allow you to open and close your jaw. Without them, you couldn’t eat, talk or yawn. A number of factors can cause TMJ problems, including bruxism, trauma and arthritis. If you have TMJ problems, you may notice:

  • Clicking noises when you open and close your mouth
  • You have difficulty opening your mouth wide
  • Chewing isn’t easy
  • Your bite is off
  • You have headaches or earaches
  • Your jaw makes unusual noises when you open and close it
  • Your jaw locks up

Can I Get Relief from TMJ Soreness with a Night Guard?

A night guard is an affordable, convenient way to eliminate TMJ pain if the problem with your temporomandibular joints is caused by excessive teeth grinding. Made-to-order mouth guards can also help hold your jaw in alignment. Your dentist will suggest a night guard before more invasive treatments if he or she thinks it will help you.

Why Is a Specialized Night Guard for Bruxism Important?

Store bought night guards, even the ones you boil and bite ones, will never fit as comfortably as a custom-made one. Since you’ll wear it every night, you want it as comfortable as possible. Made-to-order mouth guards are also made in dental labs from the highest quality materials. While the night guards from a dentist cost more than store bought ones, they last longer and are more effective. Please call us if you’re interested in a custom-made bruxism night guard.

How Can I Get a Made-to-Oder Bruxism Guard?

Please contact our office for an exam. One of our experienced bruxism dentists will decide the specifications for your night guard. He or she will have a dental lab make you the night guard from an impression of your mouth. When the night guard comes back from the lab, your dentist will ensure it fits properly and make any necessary adjustments.

What Will it Cost Me to Get a Custom Night Guard?

We will base the cost of your night guard on the specifications and materials used in the appliance. Your dentist will go over your needs with you and give you a quote. Your dental insurance may cover all or part of the cost since a night guard will protect your teeth from harm from grinding or clenching them. Please check your policy or call your plan administrator for details.

Our dentists and staff want to help you deal with the stress the coronavirus is causing, at least as it applies to your dental health. If you are having dental problems or unexplained morning headaches and jaw pain, please call us today. We can also help if you already have a fractured tooth, or a damaged restoration.

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