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Has the Pandemic Cracked Your Teeth?

The New York Times recently reported that more dental patients are reporting jaw pain, migraines, and sensitive teeth since the coronavirus shutdown. Tooth fractures are also increasing due to the rising incidence of bruxism that’s thought to be caused by stress from the global shutdown.

If you are concerned you might be grinding or clenching your teeth more often due to added stress, read more below. You might be able to solve the problem on your own, but if you need to see a dentist, we’d be delighted to meet with you. Read on for more information.

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the term for grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw. Grinding is a back-and-forth movement, while clenching occurs when you bite down with excessive force over an extended time. Bruxism is very common, but it usually occurs during the night, and many people are unaware that they have the condition. When not addressed, bruxism can:

  • Disrupt your sleep
  • Trigger severe headaches
  • Damage your tooth enamel
  • Cause facial, neck, and jaw pain

Several factors can contribute to the onset of bruxism, including:

  • Age: Young children frequently experience bruxism.
  • Emotions: Anger and stress are common emotions for those with bruxism.
  • Medications: Alcohol, caffeine, psychiatric medications, and smoking can trigger bruxism.
  • Personality: Those who are aggressive, competitive, or hyperactive are more inclined to develop bruxism.
  • Health Conditions: ADHD, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and sleep apnea are often associated with bruxism.

How Can I Stop Bruxism During The Day?

Since there are several factors that can contribute to the onset of bruxism, there are several steps that can reduce the likelihood of developing it, such as:

  • Reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
  • Don’t smoke before bedtime or stop smoking altogether.
  • Use methods to relax, especially at bedtime, such as meditating, taking a hot bath, taking a walk, or listening to soft music.

Can My Dentist Help Cure Bruxism?

If your dentist or sleep partner has indicated that you suffer from bruxism or you have pain or morning headaches due to clenching your teeth, then a custom bruxism night guard may benefit you. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.

What’s the Purpose of a Night Guard?

A custom night guard looks like the tooth whitening trays that dentists use. It’s used at night to protect the teeth from the adverse effects of clenching or grinding. It won’t prohibit you from clenching or grinding your teeth, but it will prevent the damage that’s done to your teeth by acting as a cushion.

How Will a Night Guard Help Me at Night?

When you wear a night guard while you sleep, it can alleviate the damage that bruxism does to your jaw as well as your teeth and dental restorations.

What’s Meant by TMJ?

TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint syndrome, which is a problem with the jaw muscles. It’s often caused by trauma or bruxism, and symptoms include:

  • Inability to open wide
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Facial swelling on one side
  • Sudden discomfort when biting
  • Clicking or popping when you close or open your mouth
  • Increased sensitivity or pain in the areas of the ear, jaw, face, neck, or shoulders

Will a Night Guard Eliminate TMJ?

A bruxism night guard is an affordable treatment for TMJ pain, and it’s not invasive. When properly fitted, it can alleviate many of the unpleasant side effects of TMJ.

Will a Night Guard Help With Jaw Clenching?

Night guards are relatively painless and non-invasive methods for preventing the deleterious effects of bruxism. Ignoring bruxism can lead to:

  • An increased need for root canals
  • Loss of as much as 2mm of tooth enamel in a few years
  • Increased incidence of cavities

In addition, jaw clenching and tooth grinding can cause severe headaches, jaw muscle pain and joint pain.

Where Can I Buy a Custom Night Guard?

Your dentist is the best source for a custom-fitted bruxism night guard. Although over-the-counter models are available at local pharmacies, they aren’t as effective as a night guard that is custom-fit to your mouth.

A night guard should keep your jaw in proper alignment in order to alleviate the pain associated with TMJ. Only a custom-fitted night guard can do this.

A custom-fitted night guard will be more comfortable, so you’ll be more likely to wear it, and it’ll be less likely to slip out at night.

When you order a custom-fitted night guard from your dentist, it will be better constructed and made from higher-grade materials. One reason for the additional expense is the better quality of the materials used and the upgraded manufacturing process. A custom-fitted night guard will also last longer, so over time, it will be less expensive than an over-the-counter model.

It’s easy and painless to get fitted for a custom night guard. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and use it to fabricate your night guard. When it’s completed, your dentist will check the fit to ensure that it’s comfortable, then all you need to do is be sure to wear it. It won’t interfere with your breathing or speaking.

How Much Does a Bruxism Night Guard Cost?

As with any dental appliance, your night guard cost will be unique to you. It will depend on the device you select and the materials used to fabricate it. Over time, it will be less expensive to purchase a custom-fitted night guard than it will be to repair the damage caused by untreated bruxism. During your initial consultation in our office, we’ll advise you of the cost of your custom-fitted night guard. Your insurance may cover part or all of the expenses.

If you have bruxism or need a custom-fitted night guard, then call Family Dental Group at to schedule an appointment. Don’t suffer from bruxism or pain from the damage it causes. Call us today, and let’s get started alleviating your bruxism symptoms. Call us today.

We look forward to speaking with you and working with you.

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