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Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?

Dentists are seeing more patients than ever coming in with cracks in their teeth since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Unfortunately, the instances of patients with cracked fillings and porcelain crowns is on the rise. People are under a lot of stress for variety of reasons, which can make them clench or grind their teeth at night. The New York Times reports that workers are experiencing more stress and grinding their teeth at night and clenching their jaws during the day now. Used to sitting at desks with ergonomic chairs, they’re hunched over at home, working wherever they can, trying to balance work and home life, among many other things.

More than just poor posture, the added stress of working at home during a pandemic can also be dangerous for the health of your teeth. Grinding and clenching leads to a variety of issues. So, if you’ve been finding yourself grinding your teeth at night or you suddenly have a cracked tooth, give us a call to schedule a consult with one of our experienced dentists.

What Does the Term Bruxism Mean?

Bruxism is the medical term for repetitive clenching or grinding of the teeth. People may or not be aware that they grind their teeth while they sleep. Bruxism is usually a physical manifestation of stress or anxiety, but some people are more prone to the habit, including:

  • People who have a highly competitive or hyperactive personality
  • People who are at a stressful point in their life
  • Heavy tobacco, alcohol and caffeine users
  • People with sleep apnea or other sleep disorders
  • People with ADHD, Parkinson’s and other conditions

If you grind or clench your teeth at night, you could wake up with headaches, earaches or jaw soreness. Eventually, you can wear down your tooth enamel, making them more susceptible to decay, fractures and broken fillings or other restorations.

What If I Have Daytime Bruxism?

Sometimes, people who have stressful professions, or who are frequently frustrated during the day, will clench their jaw without being aware of it. If their dentist notices it is harming their teeth, he or she may suggest ways they can relax, including:

  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Taking a walk
  • Meditation
  • Guided imagery
  • Drawing, painting or coloring

Naturally, each person will have their own stress relievers that work best for them.

How Can Dentists Help People Who Grind Their Teeth?

If you have bruxism, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard to separate your upper and lower teeth to avoid damage and enamel wear. If you have a dental condition, such as a missing tooth which is contributing to your bruxism, your dentist will suggest treatments to correct the problem. Please call our office if you need bruxism treatment.

What Is a Professionally Fitted Bruxism Night Guard?

It is a hard acrylic device that will protect your teeth from any further damage from grinding or clenching. It also acts as a cushion to prevent jaw pain from the pressure bruxism causes. Bruxism night guards resemble teeth whitening trays or sports mouth guards.

Why Should I Consider Wearing a Night Guard?

Teeth grinding can wear the enamel off your teeth, leading to tooth sensitivity and a greater chance of developing decay. Night guards also can prevent tooth fractures and broken fillings. If you have porcelain crowns or veneers in your mouth, a night guard can prevent you from breaking them.

What Is a Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome?

TMJ is the abbreviation for your temporomandibular joints that are the hinge between your jaw and skull. TMJ is often the term people mistakenly use when they mean they have a temporomandibular joint disorder. Excess strain from teeth grinding or an injury can cause the joints to become inflamed or sore. Possible symptoms of a TMJD include:

  • Jaw or facial soreness
  • A popping or clicking sound whenever you move your jaw
  • Problems opening your mouth wide
  • Problems or pain when chewing
  • Your jaw locking
  • Headaches
  • Changes in your bite

Can a Mouth Guard Alleviate TMJ Syndrome Pain?

Mouth guards you wear at night eases the strain teeth grinding puts on your joints. It can also help hold your jaw in the correct position. If you have TMJ syndrome, please call our office. One of our experienced dentists can help you find the best treatment.

Why Do I Need a Mouth Guard From a Dentist If I Grind My Teeth at Night?

Mouth guards to wear at night from a dentist offer the most protection since they are made from the highest quality materials. They also fit better than night guards you can buy online, which means you’ll be more likely to wear them every night. While a custom-made night guard is the most expensive option, it lasts longer and offers a better long-term value.

Where Do I Get a Custom Night Guard?

A dentist is the only professional who can offer custom-made night guards to treat bruxism. Your dentist will send an impression of your teeth to a dental lab which will make a mold. They use the mold to fabricate your appliance. Once your dentist receives it, he or she will call you in to make sure it fits properly. If you need a custom-made night guard, please call our dental practice to schedule an appointment.

Will a Custom Night Guard be Expensive?

We will base the cost of your device on the material and its specifications. A simple night guard to treat stress-related bruxism will cost less than one for someone who has sleep apnea. If your dentist diagnoses bruxism and recommends a night guard, he or she will give you an estimate of the cost. Dental insurance often covers all or part of the total cost.

At Wadas Dental, we want to protect your dental health. Please call us if you suspect you’ve cracked a tooth or broken a filling from unconsciously grinding your teeth at night. We also recommend you call us if a partner tells you about the grinding noises you make in your sleep.

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