If a patient is experiencing persistent pain and tightness in the jaw, temporomandibular joint disorders, often referred to as TMD, may be to blame. While people with this condition typically have similar symptoms, there are several different reasons why a person might develop an issue with the TMJ. One of the most common contributors to…
How Can a Dentist Stop Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding can lead to severe damage to your teeth. Medically termed bruxism, it is often caused by anxiety or stress. Teeth grinding does not always have symptoms, but it does wear down teeth over a period of time.
People with bruxism are often not aware of their habit. It is more likely to occur while a person sleeps or during periods of high concentration or extreme stress. It typically takes someone else to alert them of their teeth grinding habit.
The symptoms of this condition include:
- Facial pain
- Stiffness and pain around the temporomandibular joints and their surrounding tissues
- Poor sleep
- Damaged dental restorations
- Increase tooth sensitivity
- Tooth loss
It is best to see a dentist when:
- The pain caused by it is severe
- Teeth become more sensitive or show signs of damage
- A roommate complains about grinding sounds at night
How a dentist treats teeth grinding
There are a number of ways a dentist might decide to treat a patient who grinds their teeth.
1. Mouthguards and splints
A mouthguard can be used to reduce the damage done to teeth when grinding. It can alleviate the pain caused by the habit and protect teeth from further damage. The device evens out the pressure across the wearer's jaw and creates a soft barrier between the lower and upper sets of teeth.
Wearing a mouthguard also reduces the noises made when grinding teeth. That is something anyone who shares a room with someone who grinds their teeth will appreciate. The mouthguards used for bruxism are much like those used in contact sports like football or boxing. They are usually made out of rubber or plastic, and a dentist can create a customized one.
A splint is made from a harder plastic and fits tightly over the lower and upper sets of teeth. They last longer than mouth guards (typically several years), but they are no more effective than mouthguards, which are usually due for replacement within a year.
2. Relaxation exercises
When a person's bruxism is caused by anxiety or stress, psychological procedures like cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful. There are also simple things a person with stress-related bruxism can do to combat the condition, which the dentist will educate the patient about. These include:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Relaxing music
- Taking a shower before going to bed
- Reading before bed
3. Fixing damaged teeth
The damage caused by teeth grinding can be repaired with various restorative dental treatments. The dentist will evaluate the damage done to the patient's teeth and come up with a treatment plan. Treatments like dental bonding and crowns can be used to restore the damage done to teeth due to bruxism.
Failing to address the damage caused can lead to more serious issues, like an infection.
Get treatment for your bruxism
Bruxism will continue to chip away at your teeth until the issue is addressed. Stop by our Calabasas clinic and take the first step toward getting past teeth grinding.
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