At Water's Edge Dental, we help our patients to maintain good oral health, to assist in fixing any disorders they may suffer from, and to exercise prevention of any problems that might arise in the future. One issue that our dentists frequently see among our patients involves bruxism or teeth grinding. Leaving an issue like this untreated can risk recurrent and long-lasting damage to your teeth. We are prepared to help set you up with a treatment plan and if needed, tools like night guards to stop this from happening to you.
What Causes Bruxism?
While tooth clenching seems simple enough, the reason why it is happening to you can seem unclear. This condition affects millions of children and adults across the United States, and often the reason comes down to psychological stress. We can further narrow this down by pointing to internal factors such as your level of fitness, your emotional state, how fatigued you feel on a day-to-day basis, and the type of foods that you eat. External influences can also play a part in causing bruxism. This can include more psychological factors such as how often you get to relax at home, how you manage problems at work, and how you interact with coworkers, friends, and family.
How Do I Know If I Am Experiencing Bruxism?
If you have bruxism, recognizing the symptoms is the first step. Your jaw muscles might consistently be painful or tight. You may experience swelling on the side of your lower jaw that is caused by the tooth grinding. Regular contractions of your jaw muscles also indicate that they are being used constantly at night to clench your jaw together. These symptoms overlap with those seen in patients who suffer from TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint), and the best way to determine which problem you have is for you to schedule an appointment with us.
What Does Bruxism Do To My Mouth?
Now that we have resolved that you have bruxism and not TMJ disorder, we can assess the damage that it may cause you if left untreated. The reason why we recommend treatment for bruxism, or at least the use of night guards, is because the chance of it cracking or chipping your teeth goes up the longer it goes unattended.
The constant tooth grinding can slowly wear away your tooth enamel over time, making your teeth more sensitive, painful, and loose. Combined with headaches, pain in your temporomandibular joint on par with those patients who suffer from TMJ disorder, and facial fatigue that never seems to go away, we recommend treating the problem and talking with our dentists about how best to do so.
How To Treat Bruxism
As we have mentioned earlier in this article, one of the best ways to counter bruxism is to use night guards. They serve as an excellent cushion for your jaw as you sleep and prevent most, if not all, of the tooth grinding that you would have otherwise experienced. Our dentists will then talk to you about your average level of stress and your diet. Reducing stress can lessen the intensity of your bruxism. Drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol can worsen your tooth grinding at night, so we would recommend phasing those out of your diet if possible.
If you think that you may suffer from bruxism or TMJ disorder and you would like to schedule an appointment to obtain either night guards or to learn more about these problems, call us today at (208) 391-8554.