Bruxism is just the medical term for teeth grinding or teeth clenching. Most of us will occasionally clench or grind our teeth in anger or frustration and are perfectly aware we are doing this. Occasional bruxism doesn’t really do much harm, but it’s a different matter if you regularly clench and grind, particularly as this is often a nocturnal habit and certainly need bruxism treatment.
How Do I Know If I Clench and Grind My Teeth?
For some people, bruxism is caused by elevated levels of stress or anxiety, or sometimes it can be linked to a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. It’s also possible for bruxism to be caused by teeth that are missing or which are crooked, or by an abnormal bite (Read more: Missing Teeth Replacement NYC).
This is the problem with bruxism, as because it’s mainly a nocturnal habit, many people are unaware they have this condition. Some people may be alerted to the fact that they are grinding their teeth very noisily during their sleep by their partner, or they may go on to develop the symptoms of bruxism. Other times, bruxism may be diagnosed during a regular checkup at your dental office.
Why Is It Important to Get Teeth Grinding Properly Diagnosed?
The stresses on your teeth, gums and jaw joints during grinding and clenching are considerable and this can result in significant damage to these structures. It’s possible for chronic bruxism to result in teeth becoming fractured or broken, or even in tooth loss. This habit can also wear down teeth to such an extent that they just look like stumps. It can damage existing restorations such as fillings, crowns, bridges and porcelain veneers treatment, dental implants and even root canals. It could potentially cost a lot of time and money to correct these problems. Then there are the effects of bruxism on your jaw joints or temporomandibular joints as in the worst case you may require surgery.
Bruxism Treatment with a Custom-Made Night Guard
Our dentist will try to find out the cause of bruxism as this will obviously affect the treatment. If this condition is being caused by problems with your bite or with teeth that are out of position, it’s possible that we may be able to reshape or recontour your teeth so they fit together properly, helping to relieve this problem. Sometimes orthodontic treatment may help through correcting more extensive problems with occlusion. If you have any teeth that are missing, this can allow the rest of your natural teeth to shift position. Replacing these teeth can help to restore your bite. We may also look into whether you have sleep apnea, as treating this sleep disorder may help your bruxism. One of the most straightforward ways to treat bruxism is to provide you with a custom-made night guard or mouthguard.
A custom-made night guard is fabricated from a tough thermoplastic material and is made to fit tightly over your teeth so it will not fall out during sleep. It generally fits over your upper teeth and prevents them from coming into contact with your lower teeth, so you can no longer clench and grind. It’s a very easy and non-invasive way of bruxism treatment and it can be extremely successful.