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Posted on: October 29, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?
Dentists are telling multiple media outlets across the country that they are seeing more patients with cracked teeth and fillings. Patients who may have engaged in teeth grinding in the past during occasionally stressful periods are grinding their teeth every night now. The coronavirus pandemic has gone on for months now with no end in sight. People are telling reporters about being laid off from work, facing increased stress and worry about how to pay their bills, and spending more and more time worried about their family’s health, all leading to added stress.
To make matters worse, many people are avoiding routine dental exams because of the coronavirus, so their dentists cannot help and let them know that their teeth grinding is becoming worse. If you have found yourself clenching your teeth at night or during the day, give your dentist a call. It’s important to take care of your dental health, especially during a pandemic.
Bruxism: What is It?
Jaw clenching and teeth grinding is called bruxism. People often do it at night, and they are often unaware of their behavior. Many people have bruxism occasionally, but under prolonged stress, long-term teeth grinding causes damage to the teeth. People under stress, who feel anxious or frustrated, are prone to developing bruxism, but there are other factors which make people more prone to it, including:
- Genetics – people who have a close family member with bruxism are likely to get it
- Certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and sleep apnea
- Some psychiatric medications
- Tobacco use
- Excessive caffeine consumption
What If I Have Bruxism During the Day?
In times of intense stress or during a global pandemic, some people will notice an increase in daytime bruxism occurrences. Once people are aware of what they are doing, they can make a conscious effort to stop clenching their teeth or gnashing their jaw. It’s not always easy to stop the habit right away, but it’s better than the alternative of having broken teeth from excessive grinding.
Dentists suggest their patients try deep breathing, listening to soothing music or whatever else relaxes them. Other relaxing strategies that work include:
- Taking a walk
- Enjoying nature
How Will My Dentist Treat Tooth Grinding?
Dentists usually treat teeth grinding and clenching with bruxism night guards and by suggesting therapy for stress and anxiety. Night guards stop further damage to teeth and jaws and stress reduction strategies can stop people from engaging in grinding. However, your dentist will also make sure that your grinding hasn’t caused permanent damage to your teeth or your jaw.
What Are Specially Made Night Guards?
Custom bruxism night guards may cost more than off-the-shelf versions, but the fit is custom, so they are more comfortable and won’t fall out during the night. You’ll get a night guard with the right thickness to match the severity of your bruxism. You’ll receive a high-quality appliance than will last longer than an off-the-shelf one.
Why Do Dentists Recommend Night Guards?
Dentists recommend night guards for bruxism to protect your natural teeth. If you wear the enamel off, it won’t grow back. Your teeth will be more vulnerable to decay and damage without their hard outer layer. Dentists also recommend bruxism guards to stop you from cracking your teeth or cracking your fillings or other restorations.
What Is a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
A TMJ disorder is any problem that affects your temporomandibular joints. The joints control jaw movement and connect your lower jaw to your skull. Problems that affect the joint can come from an injury to the face or overuse from jaw clenching or teeth grinding. Signs you may have a TMJ disorder include:
- Problems opening your mouth wide
- Your jaw clicks or pops when you move it
- It hurts to chew
- Jaw soreness
- Facial pain
Will a Mouth Guard Stop TMJ Pain?
A specially designed temporomandibular joint disorder night guard can ease the pain you are feeling as it can prevent you from straining the joints if you clench or grind your teeth. Night guards don’t cure TMJ disorders or bruxism, but they can alleviate the symptoms until they clear up or your dentist suggests another treatment. If you’re interested in easing your TMJ disorder pain, please call our office to consult with one of our experienced dentists.
Should I Wear a Night Guard Every Night If I Have Bruxism?
Yes, you should. Long-term bruxism will wear down your teeth and can cause expensive, painful damage to your teeth. A night guard will also help with the headaches and other painful symptoms of bruxism. You will feel better, and custom night guards from your dentist are easy to get used to and comfortable to wear. Please call us if you’re interested in this bruxism treatment option.
How Do I Get a Made-to-Order Night Guard from a Dentist?
You need to call us to schedule an exam. One of our dentists can take an impression of your mouth and have the dental lab create a mold. Your night guard will be fabricated from the mold so it fits you and is comfortable. It takes a little longer and it is more expensive than a one-size-fits-all option you can buy online, but it is well worth the wait and extra expense.
Are Custom Night Guards Expensive If I Get One from a Dentist?
Our affordable custom-made night guards are an investment in preserving your natural teeth and your restorations. Please call for a consultation and one of our skilled dentists can give you a quote after determining your needs. Please let us know if you have dental insurance coverage. It may fully or partially cover the cost.
At Imagix Dental, we do our best to help protect our patient’s teeth from the harmful effects of teeth grinding. We can diagnose bruxism in patients who don’t understand why they have a cracked tooth and then fix the fracture. Our dentists can also prevent future cracks with a custom-made night guard for you.